* U.N. Peace Keepers UNEF 1

United Nations Emergency Force -- UNEF-1 (1956-67)

Figure 1.--After the Suez War, the U.N. General Assembly approved a new keeping force in the Middle East--the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF). Here one of the U.N. Peace Keepers offers candy to curious Egyptian children. The French press photo is undated, but was probably taken sometime in the 1960s before the 1967 Six Day War.

United Nations Peacekeeping began in 1948 when the Security Council authorized the deployment of U.N. military observers to the Middle East. The mission's role was to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab countries which had invaded Palestine to destroy the Jewish state. The operation became known as the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO). A new group of U.N. Peacekeepers was organized as part of the arrangements associated with Isrrael's withdrawl from Siani after the Suez War (1956). Paralyasis in the U.N. Secrurity Coucil led to action in the General Assembly. The General Assembly authorized the first United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) with resolution 1001 (ES-I). U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld played a key role in this unprecendented action. Only Egypt allowed the U.N. observers on their side of the cease-fire line. Israel refused to allow them on their side. We are not sure why. The United Nations observers for 8 years patrolled the Isreali-Egyption cease-fire line in the Siani. To Israel's frustration, they were unable to prevent irregular Palestinian attacks. They did, however, effectively keep the two armies apart. This greatly reduced the danger of an unintened war. The further apart the two armies were, these less liklihood of an incident setting off a war. As long as the two countries accepted the arrangement than the liklihood of War was reduced. The United Nations force could not resist an invasion by one side. But as long as both of the two sides were were interested in peace, the U.N. Force could prevent an accidental war. It could also establish a record of violations. But if one side was determined to launch an attack, the UNEF had no real capability to prevnt it. And Nassar as well as other Arab leaders were determined to destoy Israel. And the Sianai border was at the center of the conflict. Egypt was had the largest population and was the most important Arab state. Without Egypt there could be no Arab war with Israel. The UNEF was also a conflict indicator. If Egypt demanded that the UNEF be removed, this suggested that war was eminent.


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Created: 10:35 PM 12/10/2016
Last updated: 10:35 PM 12/10/2016