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S 1 Peacekeeping in the Middle East

A feature of international diplomacy since the Second World War has been the multi-national Peacekeeping Force.  Normally such a force involves military personnel to help maintain or restore peace in areas of conflict.  The military personnel are provided on a voluntary basis by different countries with the consent of the host governments and usually with the consent of other parties directly involved.  The Peacekeeping Force has the role of an objective and impartial third party that helps to create and maintain a cease-fire or form a buffer zone between conflicting sides. The forces usually fall into two broad categories; unarmed military observers, or lightly armed infantry units of battalion strength.  These infantry battalions of one country are usually supported by logistic units provided by another country. Australia has supported peacekeeping operations in the Middle East with military observers and logistic support units, but not with infantry units.

Section 68(3) VEA defines Peacekeeping Forces as forces raised or organised for peacekeeping purposes and described in Schedule 3 VEA, or as so designated by the Minister in a notice published in the Commonwealth Gazette. All Peacekeeping Forces that have had an Australian contribution, including those forces that no longer operate, are listed in Schedule 3. All the forces in the Middle East were organised by the United Nations except for the Sinai Multinational Force and Observers. References for the United Nations missions include Michael Harbottle, The Blue Berets, Stackpole Books 1971 and United Nations Department of Information, The Blue Helmets, United Nations Publications 1985