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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The seven 'lost villages'

So what if everyone finally - miraculously - agrees and Shaba Farms are turned over to Lebanon? With its purported raison d'etre gone, will Hezbullah voluntarily disband? Will it at least disarm its militia? No chance, says HaAretz's Danny Rubinstein. The next demand is already waiting.
Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah and his followers occasionally mention the fact that in 1948 the "Zionist entity" annexed several Lebanese villages, expelled their residents, stole their property and destroyed their homes. He is referring to seven villages that were part of Mandatory Palestine, and whose inhabitants were Shiite Muslims. At the time they were called Metawalis, a name almost certainly derived from the word wali, which in Arabic means "to be loyal and holy"; the loyalty is to Caliph Ali and his descendants, who are central to Shiite Islam.

Although Nasrallah's principal demands are Israeli withdrawal from the Shaba Farms and the release of Lebanese prisoners, it is clear that when circumstances allow, he will demand the return of these villages to Lebanon and the return of the refugees to their lands.

Between 1916 and 1923, struggles, mainly diplomatic, took place over setting the northern border of Mandatory Eretz Israel, which is the present border line. The main players in the dispute were France, which had received the mandate over Syria and Lebanon, and Britain, which had received the mandate over Palestine-Eretz Israel. Other political groups also were involved, such as the Zionist Histadrut and representatives of the Arab National Movement, which was then just starting out.


The northernmost of the Shiite villages is Ibel al-Qamah, which was located about two kilometers south of Metula. Until it was destroyed in 1948, this little village stood on the ancient tel of the biblical city of Avel Beit-Maakha, which is mentioned in the book of II Samuel. Metula-born archaeologist Meir Ben-Dov remembers that there were few families in the village, half of them Christian and half Shiite. He says there was a small church in the village, whose bell served after 1948 to summon the members of Kibbutz Kfar Giladi to their dining room.
When one demand is fulfilled another will follow. Nasrallah will never accept Israel's existence and will therefore never run out of demands. The issue isn't borders - it's Israel's existence.


At 3:21 PM, Blogger YMedad said...

We want Trumpeldor back!


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