United Nations Observers

Why does Israel resist the placement of UN observers and peace keepers?

In the long-running war between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, the suggestion is often raised to interpose “neutral international observers” or “a UN force” to keep the peace between the parties. Israel has opposed such a move and takes a lot of heat from “world opinion” because of that opposition. The simplistic view is that such observers would defuse the situation and Israel must oppose them because Israel has something to hide.

In fact, Israel has opposed the presence of UN observers because past experience has shown that UN observers are ineffective and often biased against Israel. UN observers have been in Hebron since 1994 (the TIPH), in Lebanon since 1978 (UNIFIL), and in the Golan Heights since 1974 (UNDOF). In each location they have been unable or unwilling to stem the violence against Israel or bring pressure against the Arab parties violating agreements.

A UN Emergency Force was stationed in Sinai in the 1950s to serve as a buffer between Israel and Egypt. In 1967, in the prelude to the Six Day War, Egypt ordered them to leave, which they did, leaving the field open for Egypt’s threatened aggression.

In 2000 Hizbollah terrorists crossed the border from Lebanon to Israel and abducted soldiers from sovereign Israel. Not only did the UN presence not prevent the abduction but also it later emerged that the UN peacekeepers had important evidence that they withheld from Israel.

In addition to the ineffectiveness of observers, Israel also opposes the imposition of observers because UN involvement undermines the peace process. The peace process is based on the idea of direct negotiations between the parties. Whenever the UN attempts to impose solutions or passes resolutions of condemnation, to either side, they undermine direct negotiations. Add to that the fact that the UN has been heavily biased against Israel for decades and cannot be trusted with matters that are vital to Israel’s survival.

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