The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has pointed to the disintegration in recent days of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), the UN peace-keeping force that has monitored the Israeli/Syrian ceasefire lines since 1974, as stark refutation of Secretary of State John Kerry’s proposal that Israel to entrust its security in Judea/Samaria to an international peace-keeping force in a future peace agreement with Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA).
Last week, the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front seized the strategic Quneitra border crossing from UNDOF, sending a contingent of Filipino peacekeepers scrambling for safety in Israel. It also took 45 Fijian peacekeepers hostage, who were subsequently released. This is fourth abduction of peacekeepers since March 2013, leading several countries to withdraw their troops from UNDOF.
United Nations (UN) spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, “Armed groups have made advances in the area of UNDOF positions, posing a direct threat to the safety and security of the U.N. peacekeepers along the ‘Bravo’ (Syrian) line and in Camp Faouar.” Mr. Dujarric added that all UNDOF forces have been withdrawn to the Israel side of the ceasefire lines (Louis Charbboneau, ‘U.N. Golan peacekeepers pull back from Syrian positions amid clashes,’ Reuters, September 15, 2014).
During the recent failed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians and before, Secretary of State John F. Kerry suggested that Israel yield control over Judea/Samaria to the PA with international peacekeepers stationed in the Jordan Valley abutting Jordan.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein, “We see here the heedlessness of the various, repeated suggestions over the years, including by Secretary Kerry, that a satisfactory peace agreement that meets Israel’s security needs can be achieved by Israel entrusting the security of vital frontier zones to international peacekeepers.
“The trouble, as the case of UNDOF illustrates, is that peace-keepers are only good when there is a genuine peace to maintain. When terrorist groups rule the areas in question, however, peace-keepers achieve little or nothing and often turn into an additional hindrance to Israeli security.
“Quite apart from the fact that every Israeli government has regarded the retention of the Jordan Valley as vital to Israel’s security, how can Secretary Kerry seriously suggest a force of international peacekeepers would secure the border?
“Did UNIFIL do that in Lebanon? Or did it became the shield behind which Hizballah has massively rearmed with tens of thousands of rockets?
“Has UNDOF done that in the Golan? The Israeli/Syrian frontier was quiet for nearly four decades because the Syrian regime was willing for it to be so. The moment the region became unstable and riven by a bloody civil war, the Israeli/Syrian frontier became unsafe. As we have now seen, UNDOF peacekeepers have had to flee.
“Peacekeepers are there to maintain a peace that is already there. Once the peace ends, they have no function. Yet, Israel doesn’t need peacekeepers in the Jordan Valley to maintain peace with Jordan. Israel needs to ensure that hostile terrorists or a new regime in Jordan doesn’t threaten Israel. Israeli troops won’t run, because that is their home. But peacekeepers will.
“Secretary Kerry doesn’t understand or feigns not to know that Israel can be the only reliable guarantor of its own security, not foreign troops under a UN flag, who, when it comes to the crunch, will find reasons not to risk their lives.”