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Posts Tagged ‘undof’

Will the UN Peacekeeping Force on the Israel-Syrian Border be Removed?

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Earlier we posted about first-hand testimony from Syria confirming the scale and purpose of that rogue state’s chemical weapons arsenal.

Turns out that already Monday, with scant attention from the news media, the UN was told much the same thing. From a Times of Israel report:

The United Nations peacekeeping force deployed on the Israeli-Syrian border has begun taking precautions against the possible use of chemical weapons, and may collapse in the face of a Syrian regime offensive, France’s ambassador to the UN said on Monday.

Gérard Araud told London-based daily Al-Hayat that clashes between Syrian government and opposition forces on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights have sparked fears in Western countries concerning the safety of their nationals serving at the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force.

Some of these countries, Araud said, may withdraw their men from the force, known as UNDOF, as a result. “Such a situation may bring about the collapse of UNDOF and the security arrangements between Israel and Syria which it represents,” Araud told Al-Hayat. [more]

The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force was created by a UN Security Council decision on May 31, 1974 after the agreed disengagement of Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan Heights. UNDOF’s role is currently carried out by a deployment of 1,034 troops sent by Austria, Croatia, India, Japan and Philippines; plus 84 local (Syrian) civilians and 41 international civilian staff. (We had cause to write about them some months ago, when mortar fire crashed into Israel from the Syrian side of the border – see “25-Sep-12: Incoming fire on the northern border“.)

The 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement Between Israel And Syria, brokered by US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, created a security zone between the two countries and established UNDOF. Its contribution to preserving the often-tense peace between Syria and Israel is in their  inspections (“not less often that once every fifteen days“) of the buffer zone along the Israel-Syria border. But that value depends on UNDOF actually having men and equipment in place to do the job. The Security Council was told Monday by its head of peacekeeping services, Herve Ladsous, that

gas masks and additional armored vehicles were sent to UNDOF as a safety precaution against a possible chemical attack by the Assad regime.

But as the French are suggesting, it’s at least questionable whether measures like that will keep the UN forces there. Japan already announced a week ago [report] that because of the “deteriorating security situation in Syria“, the 47 Japanese soldiers serving in UNDOF are going to go home now instead of in March 2013 when their tour of duty is supposed to end.

Way back in 1956, soldiers of the UN Emergency Force were stationed in Sinai near Israel’s borders with Egypt and Egyptian-occupied Gaza. Their removal from the scene came very quickly, and in the end was a simple matter of the Egyptians demanding on May 16, 1967 that they go. Wikipedia notes that U Thant, the Secretary General of the UN,

“acted to effect the Egyptian order without consulting either the Security Council or the General Assembly. Most of the forces were evacuated by the end of May”

and full-scale war in the region broke out a week later.

Not that we’re making any comparisons.

Visit This Ongoing War.

The Bravery of the UN Peacekeepers Tested Again

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

That’s right…once again the Middle East is testing the bravery of the United Nations peacekeepers, and once again, they are failing that test.

The United Nations Emergency Force was created in 1956 as part of a resolution agreement to the Suez Canal Crisis – that was when Egypt launched a terrorist “fedayeen” campaign against Israel and committed other acts of aggression with the declared goal of eventually destroying her. Israel responded and in the end, Egypt lost the Sinai Peninsula. The ceasefire agreement, yet another example of Israel doing above and beyond what most countries would do, included Israel withdrawing from the Sinai. They gave the Egyptians back what Egypt had lost in war because they hoped it would serve as a lesson. The lesson didn’t even last a decade. But back in 1956, a hopeful world agreed to established an international force that would be placed on the Egyptian side to prevent further violence.

In May 1967, as part of their intention to launch another war against Israel, the Egyptian government under President Nasser ordered the UN out of the way…and they agreed to leave immediately. Whatever the purpose was for them having been stationed there, the reality was that they ran at the first threat to themselves. In the end, they proved to be more vacationing tourists than peacekeepers.

Likewise, not long after the Yom Kippur War, in which both Syria and Egypt attacked Israel, in 1974, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force was established as a buffer between Israel and Syria. As in Sinai, their goal was to stand between the nations to preserve the peace.

Given the unease in Syria and rising tensions on the border with Israel after numerous instances in which Syria has fired mortars and bullets across the Israeli border, it seems the UN is worried about its troops. Today’s news indicates that Japan is pulling its troops out of the UN Observer force in the Golan Heights. No, it isn’t the entire force, not yet anyway, and yet it makes me wonder. If they are going to pull out at the first hint of trouble, what are they there for? What good do they do? Honestly, who needs them?

I know they watch over Israeli forces on the Golan. Elie told me how they used to come visit the bases in the Golan Heights. I can’t honestly believe they were as diligent on the Syrian side, but it doesn’t matter. The fact is that there really is no difference whether they are there or not. That is what today’s news reaffirms. Syria is a country that will plow over its own people, use chemical weapons on them, murder their own children in the streets. Is anyone fool enough to believe a bunch of unarmed UN troops would stop them?

In fact, there is ample evidence that more than once UN troops have collaborated with the Arabs (in Lebanon, in Gaza), so truly, Israel is probably better off without them.

So, why this post? Because the hypocrisy, the cowardice, and the incredible nerve of the UN to preach to Israel, sometimes rises up to choke me.

And then, at these moments, I read that it is snowing on Mount Hermon and I look out my office window and watch the rain in Jerusalem. Protection comes from Above – blessings of rain and snow. I wish the Japanese peacekeepers a safe trip home. They are a symptom of the impotence of the United Nations, nothing more.

You can’t keep peace in a nation that wants death and violence. Their leaving simply reminds us of who they are, and who we are. There is no fear in their leaving because there was no protection, ever, in their presence. It was known they would pull out at the first sign of trouble – it is their way, it is their cowardice, it is their shame.

Today, as yesterday and tomorrow – we are protected by the soldiers of the army of Israel. And we know that they and all our sons, are protected by the Guardian of Israel, who sent us the blessings of rain on a day that shines bright, right through the thickest of clouds, in this holy land.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-soldiers-mother/the-bravery-of-the-un-peacekeepers-tested-again/2012/12/11/

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