Contested Frontiers in the Syria-Lebanon-Israel Region studies one of the flash points of the Middle East since the 1960s—a tiny region of roughly 100 square kilometers where Syria, Lebanon, and Israel come together but where the borders have never been clearly marked. This was the scene of Palestinian guerrilla warfare in the 1960s and '70s and of Hezbollah confrontations with Israel from 2000 to the 2006 war. At stake are rural villagers who live in one country but identify themselves as belonging to another, the source of the Jordan River, part of scenic and historically significant Mount Hermon, the conflict-prone Shebaa Farms, and a defunct oil pipeline.
Asher Kaufman uses French, British, American, and Israeli archives; Lebanese and Syrian primary sources and newspapers; interviews with borderland residents and with UN and U.S. officials; and a historic collection of maps. He analyzes the geopolitical causes of conflict and prospects for resolution, assesses implications of the impasse over economic zones in the eastern Mediterranean where Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus, and Turkey all have claims, and reflects on the meaning of borders and frontiers today.