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A DIY Sightseeing Tour Along Israel’s Borders

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Just before Israel’s second lockdown began last week, I had the opportunity to take a trip up north for some peace and quiet before being confined to a one kilometre radius for the next three weeks.

Although it wasn’t the intended theme of the trip, while there I also got up to some ‘border spotting’ on the frontiers with Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. A typical sign announcing that a border is ahead. This sign is near Gesher Adam and the border with Jordan. Photo: Author.

I’m never quite sure how widespread being interested is in borders is — if at all. In fact, the only evidence I have to suggest that some other humans are interested in the subject is the /r/borderporn subreddit which has more than 50,000 subscribers.

My interest in borders probably dates back to visiting Nicosia, Cyprus as a child on vacation. Nicosia has an international border running right through it between the almost entirely unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and southern Cyprus. The fences, fortifications and border markings are images that still stick with me. These days — not so far from Cyprus — I can see some border lines and crossings on my own terms.

Israel has land borders with four countries: Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt.

Of these, Israel is legally and technically at war with both Lebanon and Syria while there are peace treaties — albeit cold ones — in places with both Egypt and Jordan.

Although in Israel’s early days the (then open) Jordanian border was a restive one, with cross-border fedayeen attacks from that territory into Israel, these days the most volatile borders are those on the north with Lebanon and the de facto border between Israel and the Gaza Strip which was recently host to a protracted period of protests.

Although UN Security Council Resolution 1701 called for a disarmament of Southern Lebanon and the absence of armed elements other than the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) to the south of the Litani River, Israel’s recent discovery and neutralization of a series of cross-border Hizbullah attack tunnels demonstrates what even the street cats in Israel knew. Hizbullah is active in Southern Lebanon right under the noses of UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping mission which is supposed to monitor the implementation of the various UN resolutions affecting the territory.

Israel’s northern border with Lebanon is — de facto and unless another one is established — the same thing as the UN Blue Line which was originally drawn for the purpose of determining whether Israel had withdrawn its troops from southern Lebanon in accordance with another UN resolution.

Part of UNIFIL’s mandate these days involves marking these out with centimetric precision in coordination. That activity is done in close coordination with both the IDF and the Lebanese Armed Forces........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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