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Israel considers pullout from Lebanon border village

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu favors an Israeli withdrawal from a village on the Lebanese border and will discuss the issue with cabinet ministers this week, a government source said on Sunday.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper said the United States was pressing Netanyahu for a pullout from Ghajar, which straddles the border between Lebanon and territory Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.

The United States, the newspaper said, believes Israel’s withdrawal from Ghajar would be a goodwill gesture toward Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and could bolster moderates in Lebanon before its June 7 general election.

The government source said Netanyahu, who meets U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on May 18, would discuss the matter with cabinet ministers later in the week.

Netanyahu, the source said, “viewed favorably” a pullout from Ghajar.

Israel annexed Ghajar in 1981 along with the occupied Golan Heights in a move that has not won international recognition.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for Netanyahu, declined to comment on the issue.

Reporting by Ori Lewis; Editing by Sophie Hares

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