UNDOF Current Affairs - 2019
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US President Trump has announced that the US will recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. This is a departure from the earlier stand of US where it treated Golan Heights as occupied Syrian territory, in line with United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.
What is the dispute over Golan Heights?
Until 1967 Golan Heights was part of Syria. Israel occupied the Golan Heights during the Six Day war (Third Arab Israeli war) held in 1967. Israel annexed the region unilaterally in 1981. This unilateral annexation was not recognised by the international community and the Golan Heights was seen as Occupied Syrian Territory.
Why Israel is ken on Golan Heights?
- Israel argues that civil war in Syria demonstrates the need to keep the plateau as a buffer zone between Israeli towns and the instability of its neighbour.
- Israel also fears that Iran is seeking to establish itself permanently on the Syrian side of the border in order to launch attacks on Israel.
- Golan’s water resources and naturally fertile soil.
United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) is stationed in camps and observation posts along the Golan. There is a 400-square-km (155-square-mile) “Area of Separation” called a demilitarized zone between the Israeli and Syrian armies.
Further Separation of Forces Agreement of May 31, 1974, created an Alpha Line to the west of the area of separation, behind which Israeli military forces must remain, and a Bravo Line to the east behind which Syrian military forces must remain.
25 km beyond the “Area of Separation” on both sides is an “Area of Limitation” in which there are restrictions on the number of troops and number and kinds of weapons that both sides can have there.
Tags: Alpha Line • Area of Limitation • Area of Separation • Bravo Line • Golan heights
Major General Jai Shanker Menon of India has been appointed as the Head of Mission and Force Commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).
He was appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and succeeds Lt Gen Purna Chandra Thapa of Nepal.
In his new role, Maj Gen Menon brings his extensive command experience and knowledge of peacekeeping affairs at the international and national levels.
About Major General Jai Shanker Menon
- Prior to this appointment, Maj. Gen. Menon was serving as Additional Director General (ADG) Equipment Management in the Indian Army.
- He has held number of command positions in the Indian Army. Earlier from 2012 to 2013, he had served as General Officer Commanding (GOC) of an Infantry Division.
- He also has served as Commandant of Regimental Training Centre, Brigade Commander and Battalion Commander.
- At the international level in the United Nations, he had served as a Military Observer in the UN Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ) in 1993 and UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) from 2007 to 2009.
About United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF)
- The UNDOF was established in 1974 by United Nations Security Council (UNSC) following the agreed disengagement of Syrian and Israeli forces in the Golan Heights.
- Since then, UNDOF has remained in the area to maintain the ceasefire between Syrian and Israeli forces and to supervise the implementation of the disengagement agreement.