SIDON, Lebanon: Israel Thursday officially confirmed plans to construct a wall to replace the existing technical fence along the Blue Line separating Lebanon’s Kfar Kila village and the Israeli settlement of Metula.
“The IDF presented their plan to construct a wall to replace the existing Israeli technical fence. The wall will be on the line where the technical fence is at present,” UNIFIL commander Maj. Gen. Paolo Serra said following a tripartite meeting with the Lebanese and Israeli armies at the Ras al-Naqoura crossing.
Media reports emerged in early January that Israel was planning to replace the technical fence with a 5-meter-high, 1-kilometer-long security wall equipped with surveillance and alarm systems. The area has been a source of tension in the past.
Serra added that the Lebanese Army had been informed of the technical details of Israel’s plans, and that UNIFIL would now work to ensure sufficient security measures were in place during the construction process.
“UNIFIL achieved full understanding both with the LAF as well as with the IDF on the scope and technical details of the works that are to be carried out,” he said. “UNIFIL’s primary endeavor will be now to enable necessary security during the works and to ensure that there is no violation of the Blue Line in the process.”
Thursday’s tripartite meeting was called by Serra the previous day to discuss security measures along the Blue Line, around which a buffer zone was established by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended Israel’s summer 2006 war against Lebanon, wherein only UNIFIL and Lebanese Army troops are permitted.
“The meeting was called to assist the parties in putting in place additional security measures along the Blue Line in the Kfar Kila area to minimize the scope for sporadic tensions or misunderstandings that could escalate situation,” Serra said.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 24, 2012, on page 4.