JERUSALEM, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The Israeli military is considering a withdrawal from a village on the Lebanese border before the end of January, the Israeli prime minister said.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee he was discussing a withdrawal from the northern half of the village of Ghajar with the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, Israel's Haaretz reports.
Israeli forces took control over Ghajar during a 2006 war with Hezbollah. Israel has since refused to leave without security arrangements that would prevent Hezbollah from launching another attack.
Netanyahu, however, said he would pull Israeli troops out of the northern half of the border village before the end of January.
Lebanese forces would cede control over the village to UNIFIL peacekeepers and Israel would maintain its social services in the area.
Meanwhile, the Israeli premier said negotiations through French mediators encouraged him to talk directly with the Syrians over lingering issues regarding the occupied Golan Heights.
"I replied to (French President Nicolas) Sarkozy, 'I prefer direct negotiations, but if the Syrians want mediation, you mediate,'" he said.