Fiasco on the Golan: UN Lays Bare Its Peacekeeping Irrelevance for Israel

(Ha'aretz) James Kirchick - Last Wednesday, the government of Austria began withdrawing its 377 soldiers serving in the Golan Heights as part of the UN Disengagement Observer Force, or UNDOF, which has policed the disputed boundary between Syria and Israel since 1974. In response, UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon has been panhandling the international community for handouts in the form of replacement forces. One might ask what is the purpose of a "peacekeeping" mission that flees the scene at the slightest indication of peacebreaking. It is not UNDOF that has kept the Golan quiet for most of the past four decades. The maintenance of peace and security is due almost entirely to Israel's unquestioned military supremacy. When Israel is strong and the Arab states fear its awesome power, they either sign peace treaties (Egypt and Jordan) or limit their hostility to bombast and support for subnational terrorist organizations (Syria). The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was established in 1978. Its latest mandate, UN Security Council Resolution 1701, calls for the disarmament of all militias. In the years since the 2006 Hizbullah-Israel war, the Shi'ite terrorist group has drastically increased its armed presence in southern Lebanon, all under the eye of the UN, which is obligated to stop such transgressions. Yet, as former Israeli UN Ambassador Dore Gold told me, "The chances of UNIFIL doing that are like the chances of snow falling in the Sinai in summertime." Whether it was in the Sinai in 1967, Lebanon in 2006, or the Golan today, the international community has repeatedly backed down in the face of belligerence. This record has implications for any future peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, bolstering the Israeli demand for an IDF presence in the Jordan Valley. Why should Israel be expected to hang its future security on the empty promises of those who have failed it so many times in the past. The writer is a fellow with the Foreign Policy Initiative.

2013-06-20 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive