“For thus the Lord said to me: ‘Go, set a watchman; let him announce what he sees.'” (Isaiah 21:6)
Amidst increasing tensions on the Israel-Syria border, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution on Tuesday to extend its observation of the border in the Golan Heights for another six months.
The United Nations Disengagement Force (UNDOF) was established in 1974 to monitor the ceasefire between Israel and Syria following the 1973 Yom Kippur war. UNDOF’s mandate to observe the “buffer zone” between the two countries has been renewed every six months since it began its work 41 years ago.
On Tuesday, another six-month extension was approved, ending on June 30, 2016. As fire between the Syrian army and rebel forces creeps closer to the border, putting the IDF on high alert, the UN Security Council took the opportunity to stress the continuing obligation of both countries to abide by the terms of the 1974 disengagement agreement, which established separation lines and a buffer zone between the countries.
The Security Council called on both Israel and Syria to “scrupulously observe the ceasefire” and to “take advantage of UNDOF’s liaison function to address issues of mutual concern.”
In its resolution, the Council condemned the fighting in the buffer zones between the Syrian Armed Forces and armed groups opposing the Syrian army in the war-torn country’s ongoing conflict.
While the agreement between Syria and Israel has held for over 30 years, occasionally a stray rocket or missile fired from Syria lands in Israeli territory. The IDF, which holds the Syrian army responsible for all events occurring over the border, is always quick to respond with its own rocket fire, targeting military positions in a clear warning not to cross the line.
Earlier in the week, a precision airstrike in Syria killed Hezbollah terrorist mastermind Samir Kuntar and several other Hezbollah officials. While the IDF did not take credit, Israel is assumed to be behind the attack.
Kuntar had been responsible for organizing terror cells and activity along the Golan Heights ever since he was released from Israeli jail in 2008.
The UN’s extension of the UNDOF’s mandate included improving protection of the UN force in light of increasing dangers, and warned that those “supporting attacks against United Nations peacekeepers” would be listed by the UN as providing support to ISIS.