Nikki Haley: UN, Israel, Syria agree to reopen Golan crossing
The United Nations, Israel and Syria have reached an agreement to reopen the Quneitra crossing in the Golan Heights, the US announced on Friday, calling the two countries to facilitate the operation of the UN peacekeeping mission in the area.
“The United States welcomes the reopening of this crossing, which will allow UN peacekeepers to step up their efforts to prevent hostilities in the Golan Heights region,” the US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in a statement.
The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) has been monitoring operations in a demilitarized zone established in 1974 between the Golan Heights and the Syrian sector, but the peacekeeping mission was disrupted by Syria’s civil war.
“We look to both Israel and Syria to provide UN peacekeepers the access they need as well as assurances of their safety. We also call on Syria to take the necessary steps so UNDOF can safely and effectively deploy and patrol without interference,” Haley said.
Military police from Russia, a major ally of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, have been patrolling on the Syrian side of Quneitra.
Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman visited the Israeli side of the crossing on September 27.
He said then that in the past, traffic through Quneitra mainly comprised shipments into Syria of apples grown by Druze farmers on the Israeli Golan – and the entry of brides for Druzes on both sides of the border.
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Last Saturday, dozens of Druze Arabs who live on Israel’s Golan Heights gathered to celebrate Assad ‘success’ in killing its own people.
Israeli Druze have at times urged Israel to intervene across the frontier, where hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed and millions driven from their homes during the civil war.
The IDF has provided life-saving humanitarian aid as part of operation “Good Neighbor” while maintaining a non-intervention policy in the seven-year civil war.