Israel’s Mission to the United Nations on Wednesday called for the return of United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) peacekeepers to the Israel-Syrian border in the Golan Heights, amid fears Iran and the ISIS terror group are looking to gain a foothold on the Syrian side of the prized strategic area.
The UNDOF force, which was created after the 1973 Yom Kippur War and includes deployments by UN countries from around the world, monitors the border between Israel and Syria. Its mandate, originally given by the UN Security Council in 1974 as a temporary measure, has been renewed every six months since.
But UN monitoring stations on the Golan have been abandoned since 2014, after Islamic terrorists captured UNDOF peacekeepers.
On Wednesday the UN Security Council renewed the UNDOF mandate once again and called for UN member states participating in the UNDOF peacekeeper program to renew the deployment of monitors on the ground.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, praised the renewal of the UNDOF mandate and echoed the Security Council’s call for a return of UNDOF peacekeepers to the Golan.
“UNDOF manning these positions is in Israel’s interest,” said Danon.
“The UNDOF peacekeepers play an important role and Israel is interested in them returning to the buffer zone in the quickest, and safest way, possible.”
During the Syrian civil war, Israel has feared Iran, a key Assad ally, could use its growing influence in the war-torn country to establish a presence on the Syrian side of the Golan. With the rise of ISIS, concerns that the Syrian Golan could be used as a front against Israel have grown.