My reference to the Saudi executions was clearly intended to emphasise the deteriorating security situation in the wider Middle Eastern context. Stern goes on to state I am “incorrect to claim the UNDOF Golan mission was intended to supervise the return of Israeli occupied Golan Heights to Syria”. He is incorrect in this also. While UNDOF’s immediate mission was “to maintain the ceasefire until a negotiated settlement could be reached”, its initiating UNSC resolution 350 of 1974 referred to UNSC resolution 338 of 1973 that “calls upon all parties concerned to start immediately after the ceasefire the implementation of Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) in all of its parts;”.
UNSC Resolution 242, in turn calls for the “Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area”. I served as a UN peacekeeper in this region in 1973/74 and am familiar with the circumstances and provisions of both the Sinai UNEF 2 and the Golan Heights UNDOF missions set up at this time.
The subsequent Israeli annexation and continuing occupation of the Golan Heights is therefore in clear breach of international laws. The main point of my letter was Irish troops serving in the Golan Heights are peacekeeping, but being used as human shields to protect Israeli illegal annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights.