Operation JADE

Operation JADE is a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) mission in the Middle East. It is Canada’s contribution to the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO).

Operation JADE is Canada’s longest-running overseas commitment. The first CAF members to serve with UNTSO were sent in 1954.

How many people are deployed?

There are four officer deployed on Operation JADE. They serve as United Nations Military Observers (UNMOs). A senior CAF officer also joins the task force when requested by the UN. That officer serves in one of several leadership positions in the region.

What are they doing?

The UNMOs work with two of UNTSO’s Observer Groups:

  • Observer Group Golan supports the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) on the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria
  • Observer Group Lebanon supports the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)

History and context of the operation

The UN General Assembly endorsed a plan for the partition of Palestine in November 1947. The plan called for creating separate Arab and Jewish states. This led to the proclamation of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948. Hostilities then immediately began against Israel by:

Palestinian Arabs and the neighbouring states of;

  • Egypt
  • Iraq
  • Lebanon
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Syria
  • Trans-Jordan
  • Yemen

The UN Security Council issued Resolution 50 on May 29, 1948. It called for an immediate ceasefire. It also appointed Count Folke Bernadotte of Wisborg as mediator to arrange a truce.

Unarmed military observers were to assist Count Bernadotte. They would keep watch to see that all parties complied with the terms of the ceasefire. The first group of UNMOs arrived in the Middle East in June 1948. UNTSO began to take shape at that time.

Israel entered into separate formal armistice agreements with its immediate neighbours:

  • Egypt
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Syria

UNTSO’s tasks were aligned with the armistice agreements in August 1949. This was done under the authority of UN Security Council Resolution 73.

UNTSO employs 151 military observers from 25 countries.

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