UNTSO in the Middle East
United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) is the UN's first peacekeeping operation, established in 1948. Norway has been a part of the operation since 1956.
The background for UNTSO was the first Arab-Israeli War in 1948. When Israel was founded in 1948, its Arab neighbours Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria immediately attacked the new nation. Since then, several more wars have been fought, and the conflict between Israel, the Palestinians and the neighbour countries is still unsolved.
Since 1948, UNTSO military observers have remained in the Middle East to monitor ceasefires, supervise armistice agreements and assist other UN peacekeeping operations in the region. UNTSO personnel have also been available at short notice to form the nucleus of some other peacekeeping operations worldwide.
Today, thirteen Norwegian officers serve in the operation. Two of them are based at the UNTSO Headquarters in Jerusalem, the rest work as observers in Israel and Lebanon.
Norway has had three force commanders in UNTSO: Lieutenant General Odd Bull (1963–1970), Lieutenant General Martin Vadset (1987–1990) and Lieutenant General Robert Mood (2009–2011).
MFO in Egypt
The Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) supervise the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, signed as a part of the Camp David Agreement in 1979. The peace treaty states that both Egypt and Israel will recognise each other, and it puts an end to the fighting that had been going on since the foundation of Israel in 1948.
The treaty establishes four security zones – three in the Sinai in Egypt and one in Israel along the international border.
The operation shall observe, report and verify that the treaty is respected. Norway has three staff officers in MFO – a chief of operation and two liaison officers. They are stationed in Northern Egypt. The Norwegian chief is a part of the MFO leader group, which plans and heads all operations at land, sea and air. The liaison officers facilitate meetings between the parties and ensure national participation in these meetings.