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S 4 United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF)

After the end of the October 1973 war, tension on the Israeli-Egyptian front quickly eased after an agreement was negotiated and UNEF II formed. On the Syrian Front in the Golan Heights, where Israeli counter-attacks had gained additional territory, tension remained high. The situation became increasingly unstable in March 1974 and remained so until 31 May 1974 when the mediation mission of the United States Secretary of State resulted in a Disengagement Agreement between Israeli and Syrian Forces.

The United Nation Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) was formed to maintain the cease-fire, to see that it was strictly observed and to supervise the agreement with regard to the areas of separation and limitation. The United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) had set up temporary observation posts in the Golan Heights in October 1973 which continued until UNDOF was formed. UNDOF then assumed command over 90 UNTSO observers in that area. Six countries have contributed forces to UNDOF which continues in operation to this date. Australia has not supported UNDOF with forces but it is listed in Schedule 3 of the VE Act. This would be to cover Australian UNTSO observers who have been or may be allotted to UNDOF. There are presently 8 UNTSO observers assigned to UNDOF. Schedule 3 VEA lists the commencement date of UNDOF as 1 January 1974 but, as noted above, the Agreement that led to the formation of UNDOF was not signed until 31 May 1974.