Lieberman: Israel will quit Lebanon town unilaterally due to Hezbollah refusal to cooperate
Netanyahu to inform UN of expected disengagement from disputed border village of Ghajar; FM: We told Netanyahu we could not wait for Lebanese government to comply.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday that Israel would execute a unilateral withdrawal from the Lebanese border town of Ghajar, due to the refusal of Hezbollah to comply with a coordinated disengagement.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to inform United Nations Secretary General Ban-ki Moon of Israel's intent withdraw from the disputed village, a government official told Haaretz on Saturday.
At a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, Lieberman said that Israel would have liked to reach a trilateral agreement with Lebanon and the United Nations but that such efforts were "torpedoed by the government of Lebanon and its representatives from Hezbollah."
"The Foreign Ministry made all the preparations regarding a withdrawal from Ghajar," Lieberman told reporters in Jerusalem, adding: "We told Prime Minister Netanyahu that perhaps the time had come for a settlement between us and the UN, rather than waiting any more for Lebanon. We support this settlement and I hope that it will be approved shortly."
The international border between Israel and Lebanon runs through the middle of the village of Ghajar, and according to UN Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War, Israel was required to cease all operations north of the border, with an emphasis on military operations.
Israel has also been told by the United States and the United Nations that now that the Saad Hariri government has been established in Lebanon, Israel's withdrawal from Ghajar will help bring stability to the northern border and strengthen Hariri's moderate camp, as it can present an Israeli withdrawal as a first, speedy accomplishment.
According to senior government officials speaking with Haaretz on Saturday, Netanyahu is expected to meet the UN chief on Monday, at which time he will update the secretary general of his intent to bring the matter before the cabinet.
The PM will present the Israeli plan for withdrawal from Ghajar's northern side, one which has been discussed with the commander of the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL) in recent months.
Netanyahu is scheduled to depart Israel for the United States late Saturday night ahead of his planned address at the annual Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly in New Orleans.
The premier is not expected to meet U.S. President Barack Obama, as Obama is on an official visit to India, and is instead scheduled to meet Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton