CIA Director William Burns has reportedly presented a proposal to have Israel withdraw from Lebanon’s occupied Shebaa Farms, a journalist has revealed.
Political writer and journalist Toufic Shouman said during an interview with Al-Jadeed that during a recent visit to Lebanon, Burns carried a proposal for Israel to withdraw from the Shebaa Farms and to put an end to the Lebanese border conflict.
“There is an opinion within the U.S. administration, and it’s not new – even during Trump’s term and during Obama’s term – that it’s possible for Israel to withdraw from the Shebaa Farms,” Shouman said.
The journalist noted that there would likely be no problem with Syria in this regard – particularly regarding border demarcation with Lebanon after Israel‘s supposed withdrawal – and that the entire issue hinges on Israel’s approval to withdraw its forces.
The Shebaa Farms, a nearly 22-km2 strip of land in southern Lebanon, has been occupied by Israel since the 1978 Israeli invasion of South Lebanon.
The Golan Heights, which include the Shebaa Farms, were annexed by Israel in 1981 in a move that only the U.S. recognized.
Following the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000, Lebanon demanded that Israeli forces withdraw from the farms and disputed the U.N.’s certification of the withdrawal. Nonetheless, Israel has maintained its military presence in the area since then.