Tel Aviv PE Attends UN Commander Briefing in Golan Amid Heightened Tension


11 November 2012, Camp Ziouani, Golan Heights – On behalf of the Philippines as a troop-contributing country, Ambassador Generoso D.G. Calonge attended a briefing in Camp Ziouani, United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights on 09 November 2012. Major General Iqbal Singha, UNDOF Force Commander and Head of Mission, briefed the Ambassadors, Defense Attachés and other guests coming from the Philippines, Albania, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Delegation of the European Union, France, Germany, India, Lithuania, Sweden, Latvia, Japan, Malta, Norway, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Serbia, Slovakia and the UK.

ungolan_2The briefing mainly focused on the operational procedures and the crucial role of the UNDOF in maintaining peace and stability in the region under its mandate of assuring the disengagement of Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan Heights. UNDOF provided the audience with an overview of the Areas of Separation and Limitation and the surrounding terrain, including a tour of UNDOF facilities, the UN position in the area and a view of UNDOF geographic areas of operations as seen at Mount Bental.

One feature of this year's briefing was an orientation of crossing procedures in the adjacent points manned separately by the Syrian, UNDOF and Israeli forces.

UNDOF also highlighted that over the years, aside from maintaining peace in the region, it has undertaken humanitarian operations for the civilian population living and residing in the Areas of Separation.

ungolan_3To date, UNDOF has a total number of 1,190 personnel. 1,047 of these are military personnel and the remaining are civilian international and local staff. UNDOF boasts 38 years of peacekeeping operations in the region and has, so far, managed 50,000 peacekeepers from various countries.

The current situation in the Middle East, especially the ongoing crisis in Syria, highlighted the greater importance of the UN Forces in the Golan Heights. The Philippines will continue to play an important role in UNDOF as it operates in the southern sector of the Area of Separation.

The Philippines has a total number of 348 military personnel, second to the Austrian contingent of 378 personnel followed by India (190), Croatia (95), Japan (33) and Canada (3).