Last night I had a discussion with a luminary of Israel's so-called human-rights firmament. The kind of person who generally puts the right of the individual above - or at least, balanced against - the right of the government to pursue policies in the national interest. I was of the opinion that the Ghajar case is a fine example: the Israeli government is about to shunt some 1500 of its citizens into a country they have no identification with, while probably negatively impacting their ability to lead normal lives, in the name of a national interest. My interlocutor, however, had no patience for my pleas to take consideration of personal needs of citizens: They are free to move anywhere else inside Israel (and by implication: why do they think it's their right to remain in the town of their forefathers). For my interlocutor, the overriding consideration was ending a piece of Israeli occupation.
When I tried to apply the same logic to other hypothetical cases, such as for example the idea that Israel will swap Israeli-Arab towns along the Green Line for settlement beyond in a future peace agreement, the discussion got too slippery for me to be able to follow it. But perhaps I wasn't trying hard enough.
This article in Haaretz postulates how the reality on the ground will in a few months: Ghajar will be fenced off from both Israel and Lebanon. Sounds jolly to me:
The security situation after the withdrawal is expected to be better than before the 2006 Second Lebanon War, as Ghajar will be defended from the north by a large UNIFIL force - equiped with watchtowers, lighting and a ground barrier that would make infiltration very difficult.
UNIFIL will effectively isolate the village from the rest of Lebanon, preventing open access to other Lebanese civilians, while the IDF will reinforce its contingent in the south of Ghajar.
According to the proposed arrangement, the IDF will retreat to the southern part of the village, thereby implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1701. The northern part of Ghajar will fall under the military responsibility of no party, while UNIFIL will prevent residents of the rest of Lebanon from entry.
The villagers don't sound amused.
If there is anything amusing about the matter, it is surely the way it's being reported by the Guardian. Harreit Sherwood manages to imply that the pain about to be inflicted is Israel's fault. She also manages never to mention - not once - that the residents of Ghajar are Israeli citizens, and she certainly doesn't hint that they are so by choice, having requested Israeli citizenship in 1981, when it was first offered by Israel.
As to the the comments below her story: Israel complying with a UN demand to move back to a UN line is, obviously, a story of Israeli perfidy and naked aggression. Of course.