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Israel Submits Formal Protest Against Lebanon in U.N.
July 3, 2000

Israel submitted a formal protest against Lebanon to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, stating that Lebanon has not kept its obligation to assume control of southern Lebanon in accordance with U.N. Resolution 425, following the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the region, YEDIOT AHARONOT reported.

Israel further claims that there is increasing violence directed at Israelis from the northern borders, such as the throwing of objects from Lebanese territory at farmers who are working in their fields, and attempts at illegal crossing of the border.

Meanwhile, the Israeli administration set up to assist former South-Lebanese Army soldiers has recently offered several benefits options to refugees currently in Israel, HA'ARETZ reported. A document describing these options was distributed among the refugees in an attempt to clarify the rights to which they are entitled.

An SLA soldier who chooses to move back to Lebanon will receive increased compensation, whereas those who emigrate to other countries will be entitled to the regular retirement package - one full monthly salary for every year of service. So far, Germany, as well as several countries in South and North America have agreed to take in refugees. Ex-soldiers who choose to remain in Israel will be entitled to a monthly pension of NIS 2,400-3,400 (US $600-850), as well as assistance with rent.

3,000 refugees have already gone back to Lebanon, and it is assumed that more will choose to do so as the situation stabilizes. Currently, however, former SLA personnel still face trial upon their return to Lebanon. Most recently, three ex-soldiers were sentenced to death in Beirut, and there are further indications of more death penalties.

Ha'aretz: Syrian troops monitoring Israel from Lebanon border fence, IDF ordered not to respond to stone throwing (or bullets if can't identify exact source)

By Amos Harel - Ha'aretz Military Correspondent Ha'aretz
4 July 2000
Syrian intelligence ventures into vacuum in Lebanon

In the absence of a Lebanese army presence in southern Lebanon, Syrian troops have been approaching the Israeli border to observe the Israeli forces arrayed along the fence.

IDF officials are complaining that the Lebanese army's failure to stand by UN Security Council Resolution 425 and fill in the vacuum left by the Israeli withdrawal has opened the way for small Syrian intelligence teams to approach the border.

The Lebanese Gendarmerie, the internal security service, has deployed in large villages and cities, but erected only two roadblocks.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah has maintained a massive presence along the border and is the dominant military power in the area. Hezbollah has not stationed cannons or heavy weaponry in the area, but IDF sources believe the organization maintains its ability to carry out attacks against Israel.

Hezbollah has set up roadblocks, ambushes and lookouts along the border with Israel, and maintains the routines of a formal army. The organization has permanent lookouts into Israel, and is most visible at former border crossings, including Turmous, Biranit, and the infamous Fatma Gate.

Hezbollah has also recently expanded its civilian activities in Lebanon. A senior Israeli source said the organization is still "clipping coupons" following the IDF withdrawal, preparing for the Lebanese elections scheduled for August and September.

Hezbollah has paved roads in the south, rebuilt mosques and erected memorials to its fallen men. Hezbollah has also opened local offices in southern towns and collected funds for its operations from civilians in the south.

But there are still occasional violent outbursts at Fatma Gate, which sometimes involve hundreds of stone-throwers. IDF officials hope UNIFIL, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, will cooperate with the Lebanese government to impose order in the area.

Still, the source said, "the current situation cannot continue indefinitely, and if these attacks continue, we will eventually be forced to respond aggressively."

Israeli border troops have been absolutely forbidden to fire into Lebanon territory unless soldiers identify precise fire in their direction coming from across the border. Troops have also been instructed not to respond to stone-throwing.

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