Israel and the Golan Heights

On June 11, 2013 Austria began withdrawing some of its 377-member contingent of the five-country United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) from the demilitarized zone on the cease-fire line between Israel and Syria in the Golan Heights. The withdrawal was occasioned by the injury of two of the contingent caused by rebels who were fighting against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and briefly captured the town of Quneitra, the major crossing point between Syria and Israel in the zone. Austria felt the risk to its other soldiers was too great since the civil war had made the Golan a target area for both Assad's forces and the rebels. The lesson can be quickly drawn: Israel cannot leave its security in the hands of an international force. That force cannot guarantee peace, especially against terrorist groups. An ironic reflection might be that UN observers, like UN peacemakers, are particularly effective when there is no fighting to observe or conflicts to...(Read Full Article)