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Sunday’s Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) attack by Syrian forces against an Israeli civilian contractor is a war crime:
A 15-year-old Israeli boy was killed in the Golan Heights Sunday morning in what the IDF said was a missile attack from Syria, just south of the Quneitra crossing [Tel Hazeka -a site previously targeted by Syrian forces. J.D]. Three others were hurt, including his father, a civilian contractor, who sustained serious injuries.
A vehicle that was delivering water to the contractors, who were working on the fence that Israel is building across the plateau, was targeted with an anti-tank missile fired from the Syrian side of the border, military officials said.
It is also highly likely that the death toll in this attack would have been higher without the new border fence. It appears the missile first hit the fence and fragments carried on to hit the civilian vehicle. Any lightly armoured vehicle (as the IDF would be using for a patrol) would probably have protected it’s occupants. Tragically for this boy, he was sitting on the fence side as they drove north and so he took the impact.
Fences save lives. Again and again.
Furthermore, it is a violation of the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Syria:
- Israel and Syria will scrupulously observe the cease-fire on land, sea and air and will refrain from all military actions against each other, from the time of the signing of the document, in implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 338 dated October 22, 1973.
- The military forces of Israel and Syria will be separated in accordance with the following principles:
- All Israeli military forces will be west of the line designated as Line A on the map attached hereto, except in the Kuneitra area, where they will be west of line A-1.
- All territory east of Line A will be under Syrian administration, and the Syrian civilians will return to this territory.
- The area between Line A and the Line designated as Line B on the attached map will be an area of separation. In this area will be stationed the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force established in accordance with the accompanying protocol.
- All Syrian military forces will be east of the line designated as Line B on the attached map.
- There will be two equal areas of limitation in armament and forces, one west of Line A and one east of Line B as agreed upon.
- Air forces of the two sides will be permitted to operate up to their respective lines without interference from the other side.
- In the area between Line A and Line A-1 on the attached map there shall be no military forces.
- This agreement and the attached map will be signed by the military representatives of Israel and Syria in Geneva not later than May 31, 1974, in the Egyptian-Israeli military working group of the Geneva Peace Conference under the aegis of the United Nations, after that group has been joined by a Syrian military representative, and with the participation of representatives of the United States and the Soviet Union. The precise delineation of a detailed map and a plan for the implementation of the disengagement of forces will be worked by military representatives of Israel and Syria in the Egyptian-Israeli military working group, who will agree on the stages of this process. The military working group described above will state their work for this purpose in Geneva under the aegis of the United Nations within 24 hours after the signing of this agreement. They will complete this task within five days. Disengagement will begin within 24 hours after the completion of the task of the military working group. The process of disengagement will be completed not later than twenty days after it begins.
- The provisions of paragraph A, B, and C shall be inspected by personnel of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force under this agreement.
- Within 24 hours after the signing of this agreement in Geneva all wounded prisoners of war which each side holds of the other as certified by the ICRC will be repatriated. The morning after the completion of the task of the military working group, all remaining prisoners of war will be repatriated.
- The bodies of all dead soldiers held by either side will be returned for burial in their respective countries within 10 days after the signing of this agreement.
- This agreement is not a peace agreement. It is a step toward a just and durable peace on the basis of Security Council Resolution 338 dated October 22, 1973.
The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) was established per UNSC 350, with these missions:
- Maintain the ceasefire between Israel and Syria;
- Supervise the disengagement of Israeli and Syrian forces; and
- Supervise the areas of separation and limitation, as provided in the May 1974 Agreement on Disengagement.
For that purpose, UNDOF has built operational bases, HQs, and observation posts along the border between Israel and Syria. Three such places are within 3 Km of the place of attack: Position 68, Position 69, and Observation Post 52.
There has yet to be any word from UNDOF about the attack, neither a “we condemn the attack” nor a “we urge all sides to use restraint”.
If all UNDOF does is supervise, despite constant violations by Syria, then UNDOF has no reason to exist. It is a useless force manned by military personnel more interested in some R&R in the Sea of Galilee than doing their job. This attack, like many others, happens right under their noses, and they couldn’t care less.
Even more reprehensible is the fact that yesterday, one day after the deadly attack, UNDOF was being rewarded for – wait for it – “competency, commitment and professionalism in the current challenging situation”:
23 June, 2014 – The Under-Secretary General Peacekeeping Operations, Mr Herve Ladsous visited UNDOF during the period 22-23 June. He was received by the Head of Mission and Force Commander, Lt Gen Iqbal Singh Singha before being accorded with a guard of honor by soldiers of FIJIBATT. During his visit, Mr Ladsous interacted with the troop contributing countries (TCCs) as well as UNDOF’s civilian staff. He also visited UN positions in the area of operation.
In addressing the Contingents, the international staff, and the local staff, Mr Ladsous expressed his gratitude for their competency, commitment and professionalism in the current challenging situation. He praised Lt Gen Singha for his vision and leadership and further expressed his admiration for the TCCs that gallantly responded to the call of the UN in UNDOF’s time of need.
He reassured the UNDOF peacekeepers that the UN Security Council is unanimous in preserving peace on the Golan and would ensure that the mission is provided with the means and sources to maximize the safety and security of its personnel so that the mission will continue to operate.
In recognition of their efforts and hard work, UNDOF military and civilian “Peacekeepers of the Month” were presented with certificates from Mr Ladsous.
Only Israel and Israelis can defend Israel.
As Ben-Gurion put it: UM Shmum!
h/t Split Second