Bligh, The United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF), 1956–67

Bligh, Alexander. “The United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF), 1956–67: Past Experience, Current Lessons.” Middle Eastern Studies 50.5 (2014): 796-809.






With the conclusion of almost every round of hostilities between Israel and one of its neighbours the idea of international forces is being raised once again. This is basically an improved and revised initiative for stationing international forces to supervise (and perhaps impose) a ceasefire between the parties. In the Arab–Israeli framework, it is in essence the old approach which has been in service since 1948. Only one force, UNEF, stands out as not having been approved by the Security Council and clearly failing its intended but vaguely defined mission. The current analysis leads to the conclusion that in this particular regional conflict, the positioning of international forces must always come within the context of a more comprehensive settlement. That way, by violating a force’s mandate, each party would lose either land or diplomatic recognition. Moreover, if a Middle Eastern peacekeeping operation is to take place in the future, it has to include organic units of the warring parties, encouraging peaceful interactions. Such units should reinforce organic units from countries acceptable to all parties. Hopefully, future missions, taking into consideration some of the approaches suggested here, can continue to contribute to regional processes for peace.

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