UN Peacekeepers Flee to Safety Inside Israel

Sunday, August 31, 2014 |  Ryan Jones

Nearly every major Israeli-Arab conflict has ended the same, with the international community inserting peacekeeping forces that are intended to server as a buffer between the Jewish state and hostile Arab forces in order to prevent future wars.

Late last week, that formula was put to the test when Syrian rebel forces affiliated with Al Qaeda advanced on and seized control of the border region in the Golan Heights.

The current focus of the Al-Nusra Front is not attacking Israel, but the international forces that make up the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) were still in the way and quickly found themselves under siege.

Numerous reports attested to heroic actions by UN peacekeepers in rescuing some of their colleagues that were pinned down by jihadist gunfire. Others were earlier taken captive.

But at the end of the day, it required the peacekeepers’ best, most valiant efforts just to save their own skin when faced with a real threat. And even then, the battle lasted a mere seven hours before scores of UN personnel fled into neighboring Israel.

Israel has asked before, and many are asking again - how exactly are such forces supposed to prevent or deter violence in the region? And the bigger question stemming from that is, can containment of more hostile elements still be viewed as a viable tactic in the Middle East conflict?

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