Amid the controversy sparked by a recent statement made by Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat regarding Shebaa Farms, similar comments made by President Michel Aoun 17 years ago have been brought back to the forefront.
In a 2002 interview on MTV three years before his return from exile in France, Aoun made it explicitly clear that the disputed Shebaa Farms are not Lebanese, saying that they are not occupied lands.
"It is a lie and I am responsible what I am saying," Aoun said when asked about the need for Resistance given that the Lebanese Shebaa Farms are still occupied by Israel.
"We cannot change maps as we like. Shebaa Farms are not Lebanese. Even if so, they have been annexed to Syria long ago and Lebanon chose to keep mum about it," he said.
"The Lebanese government has never mentioned that it has an occupied territory subject to the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 242. On the contrary, it said that it is not concerned by this resolution and has no occupied territory," Aoun explained back then.
Resolution 242 was unanimously passed by the Security Council in an effort to secure a just and lasting peace in the wake of the Six-Day (June) War of 1967, fought primarily between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. The Israelis supported the resolution because it called on the Arab states to accept Israel’s right “to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.” It was also shored up by Arab countries as it called for Israel to withdraw from the territories conquered in 1967.
The disputed zone was occupied by Israel during the Arab-Israeli war in 1967.
Following Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, the United Nations considered the Shebaa Farms to be part of the Syrian territory. To date, Syria has not provided documents proving its ownership.
"Assuming that Syria wants to return us this territory, then let it provide a document according to the international laws proving that the land is Lebanese," Aoun stressed.
Last week, Jumblat ignited a fierce debate after stating that Shebaa Farms are not Lebanese.
“In my opinion, the Shebaa Farms are not Lebanese. In 2000, the Lebanese maps were altered by Lebanese and Syrian officers,” he claimed in an interview on Russia Today.