As a result, the United Nations' "blue line" cuts through Ghajar at its narrowest point. Israeli officials say that residents asked for, and were granted, Israeli citizenship after the army withdrawal. Khatib said they grudgingly accepted citizenship to make their lives easier.
"We already live under Israeli rule, so what does it matter that we have an Israeli identity card," Khatib said, adding that he and others want a solution, but only if their village remains undivided and part of a nation that will leave them alone.
Ghajar is not an easy place to visit. A four-hour drive from Jerusalem, it is far off a main road just west of Mount Dov. One sign points the way, and that leads to a confusing series of unmarked dirt roads, only one of which will end up in Ghajar.
The path skirts wheat fields on one side and minefields on the other, interspersed by several small army bases with mobile anti-aircraft missile launchers, tanks and heavy artillery guns, all pointed at Lebanon.
At the entrance to Ghajar, soldiers stop every car. They demanded passports and media identification cards from a reporter and wanted to know the religions of the car's occupants. After clearing the visit through headquarters, the soldiers allowed the car to proceed but insisted on holding onto the passports.
Once inside, Khatib showed off his village, old parts and new, which consist mainly of small houses, a small store, a school and his office, which flies the Israeli flag despite being in Lebanon. Residents appear to be willing to stay, as construction on new homes was abundant.
Many houses had garden plots and small grassy front yards. A promenade snaked around the northern side, with gas lamps and benches overlooking a deep ravine, a stream and a Lebanese village not far off in the distance.
The tranquil scenes are broken, however, when fighting between the two sides escalates, as it has during the past two months. Hezbollah has repeatedly been firing mortars at Mount Dov, which Ghajar residents can see from their windows.
Last month, three children in Ghajar were injured when several of the mortars hit their houses.
The border skirmishes have grown so serious that international officials are worried it could explode into a serious confrontation that might draw other Middle Eastern countries into war.
Ghajar residents try to make do, though everyday life in a military closed zone can be vexing. The building boom is unregulated because Israel won't send inspectors, so no permits are required.
Food trucks drop off supplies at the army checkpoint, and merchants have to come out and get what they need, everything from live chickens to milk. Mail also gets dropped off in bulk, and a resident has to come and sort it.
And when a person dies of questionable circumstances, as happened several months ago, someone has to bring the corpse to the Israeli side of the village because police aren't allowed into Lebanon. The medical clinic is empty because Israeli doctors aren't allowed in.
"Under such circumstances, life can be difficult," Khatib said, smiling sadly because he believes the chances of being returned to Syria are slim. He remembers as a child bringing produce to the marketplace in Damascus, which is closer to Ghajar than Tel Aviv.
"This is our luck."