Ex-SLA men work checkpoints in West Bank and Gaza
The Jerusalem Post, 03/22/2001
Former members of the South Lebanon Army militia, wearing Israeli uniforms, are being used to man checkpoints in the Palestinian territories, a European diplomat said yesterday.
The former militiamen have been spotted in the Gaza Strip and locations in the West Bank, the Beirut-based diplomat told Lebanon's The Daily Star yesterday.
Rumors have circulated for the past month that former SLA militiamen have been employed by the IDF for security duties in the territories. The diplomat said he had been informed that the reports were accurate.
"There are at least two checkpoints manned by former SLA men," the diplomat said, one in the Jericho area and the other near Khan Yunis in Gaza.
A Lebanese-born American citizen who works in the Kalandia refugee camp north of Jerusalem recognized a Lebanese accent when she was passing through the Jericho checkpoint, the diplomat said.
"She asked if they were Lebanese and they answered with a terse affirmative," he said.
Some 6,000 SLA militiamen and their families, fearing reprisals from Hizbullah fighters, fled to Israel last May in the wake of the IDF withdrawal from the security zone. Around 1,700 have returned to Lebanon and another 600 have migrated to Germany and Australia - the only two countries so far to agree to accomodate SLA refugees.
Most European countries have refused to accept groups of SLA refugees out of concern that some of them may have been involved in human-rights abuses in southern Lebanon.
Some 3,000 former militiamen and their families remain in Israel,
although most have applied for citizenship to Canada, the United
States, and European countries.