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Panoramic Views > El Nabatieh > Marjehyoun > Al Ghajar

Al Ghajar

Al-Ghajar is the name of village and also of a region in the caza (district) of Wazzani (Wazzani-Hasbaya). It is south-east of Marjeyoun, borders Israel and Syrian Golan, and lies to the west of Jabal esh-Sheikh, known in the West as Mount Hermon. The region is eighty miles from Beirut and stands at a height of between1,800 and 2,000 feet. It can be reached through the route Tyre-Zahrani, Nabatieh, Deir Mimas and Marjeyoun or from the West Beqaa.

This region which is at present split by the partial Israeli occupation is the subject of discussion at the international level. Al-Ghajar village is cut in two, with the southern part under Israeli control and the northern part occupied by UNIFIL forces. Al-Ghajar is still waiting for a just solution. Originally Syrian, Al-Ghajar is situated between Lebanon and the part of Golan annexed by Israel in 1981.

The blue line left one third of Ghajar in Lebanon and two-thirds in the zone under the control of the Hebrew state. During the July 2006 offensive against the Hizbollah, the Israeli army seized control of the entire village. There were a number of clashes between the Hizbollah and the Israeli troops. The latter wished to isolate Ghajar from the rest of Lebanon as part of the annexation of Golan.

The village is situated on a strategic hill overlooking the Wazzani River, which rises in Lebanon and is an affluent of the River Jordan, flowing into Israeli territory and replenishing the Lake of Galilee (Tiberias). As for the origin of the name Ghajar, it may come from a word meaning Gypsies, if indeed there were Gypsies in the region.

The Israeli army has put up an electrified razor-wire fence nine feet high, which together with a layer of sand surrounds the village on its eastern, northern and western sides, while on the southern side Israel has cut the road between Al-Ghajar and Abbasseyeh with a deep trench. In this way it has acted as a gangster state, aggressive and expansionist.

Thus the Hebrew State has altered the blue line drawn by the United Nations in May of 2000. The fields cultivated by the Lebanese, the Maronite Church property, possessions, and so on, have finished up on the wrong side of the wire. The divided village of Ghajar is effectively under total occupation by the Israeli army. No local traffic is allowed on the roads, but trucks carry richly fertile Lebanese soil to the arid Israeli colonies. Lebanese civilians are seized and interrogated for hours. Aircraft fly daily in the Lebanese sky, and money and jewelry disappear, thanks to the Israeli mafias on the scene both during and after the war.

The return of this plot of land will demand months, if not years, of negotiation. If Israel does not withdraw from Ghajar, it means that it only wishes to cause trouble. The two thousand Syrians residing there have been given Israeli nationality.

The Israelis still continue to pump water from the river. Life has returned to certain villages which were deserted during the war. The plateau of Ghajar on the lower slopes of Mount Hermon offers an unrivalled panorama. This highly picturesque region lends itself to tourist projects which however must wait for the aggressor to withdraw.

Joseph Matar
Translation from the French: Kenneth J. Mortimer

- Al Ghajar Village: >> View Movie << (2011-06-15)



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