That's right...once again the Middle East is testing the bravery of the United Nations peacekeepers, and once again, they are failing that test. The United Nations Emergency Force was created in 1956 as part of a resolution agreement to the Suez Canal Crisis - that was when Egypt attacked Israel hoping to destroy her. In the end, they lost the Sinai Peninsula. The ceasefire agreement, yet another example of Israel doing above and beyond what most countries would do, included Israel withdrawing from the Sinai. They gave the Egyptians back what Egypt had lost in war because they hoped it would serve as a lesson. The lesson didn’t even last a decade. But back in 1956, a hopeful world agreed to established an international force that would be placed on the Egyptian side to prevent further violence.
In May, 1967, as part of their intention to launch another war against Israel, the Egyptian government under President Nasser ordered the UN out of the way...and they agreed to leave immediately. Whatever the purpose was for them having been stationed there, the reality was that they ran at the first threat to themselves. In the end, they proved to be more vacationing tourists than peacekeepers.
Likewise, after the Yom Kippur War in 1973, in which both Syria and Egypt attacked Israel, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force was established as a buffer between Israel and Syria. As in Sinai, their goal was to stand between the nations to preserve the peace.
Given the unease in Syria and rising tensions on the border with Israel after numerous instances in which Syria has fired mortars and bullets across the Israeli border, it seems the UN is worried about its troops. Today's news indicates that Japan is pulling its troops out of the UN Observer force in the Golan Heights. No, it isn't the entire force, not yet anyway, and yet it makes me wonder. If they are going to pull out at the first hint of trouble, what are they there for? What good do they do? Honestly, who needs them?
I know they watch over Israeli forces on the Golan. Elie told me how they used to come visit the bases in the Golan Heights. I can't honestly believe they were as diligent on the Syrian side, but it doesn't matter. The fact is that there really is no difference whether they are there or not. That is what today’s news reaffirms. Syria is a country that will plow over its own people, use chemical weapons on them, murder their own children in the streets. Is anyone fool enough to believe a bunch of unarmed UN troops would stop them?
In fact, there is ample evidence that more than once UN troops have collaborated with the Arabs (in Lebanon, in Gaza), so truly, Israel is probably better off without them.
So, why this post? Because the hypocrisy, the cowardice, and the incredible nerve of the UN to preach to Israel, sometimes rises up to choke me.
And then, at these moments, I read that it is snowing on Mount Hermon and I look out my office window and watch the rain in Jerusalem. Protection comes from Above - blessings of rain and snow. I wish the Japanese peacekeepers a safe trip home. They are a symptom of the impotence of the United Nations, nothing more.
You can't keep peace in a nation that wants death and violence. Their leaving simply reminds us of who they are, and who we are. There is no fear in their leaving because there was no protection, ever, in their presence. It was known they would pull out at the first sign of trouble - it is their way, it is their cowardice, it is their shame.
Today, as yesterday and tomorrow - we are protected by the soldiers of the army of Israel, Lauren's cousin who is up there, and so many others. And we know that they and all our sons, are protected by the Guardian of Israel, who sent us the blessings of rain on a day that shines bright, right through the thickest of clouds, in this holy land.