All 1,200 UNDOF peacekeepers now crowded into base on Israeli side of border; ‘their mandate is just not relevant anymore,’ ex-liaison officer says.
By Aron Heller—THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
For four decades, a multinational United Nations mission has quietly monitored the sleepy Golan Heights — providing a symbol of stability between bitter enemies as it enforced a truce between Israel and Syria.
But as Syria has plunged into civil war and the peacekeepers themselves have become targets of al-Qaeda-linked rebels, the UN observer force has begun to fall apart, leaving its future — and the prospects for ever establishing peace in this rugged area of the Middle East — in doubt.
Since Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war, a withdrawal from the strategic plateau was seen as the key to any peace agreement. But as Syria continues to disintegrate, the odds of Israel giving up the Golan — never a popular prospect among Israelis — appear to be dimming by the day.