The IDF Liaison Unit was established to represent the IDF and implement IDF policy before foreign forces stationed in the area, in accordance with the relevant international agreements. The unit helps to reduce friction and develop fair and amicable woking relations,so as to enable the IDF to fulfill its duties and to achieve its goals.
The IDF Liaison Unit maintains contact between the IDF, UN and other foreign forces operating under various security arrangements in the region. These contacts include liaison between the IDF and the MFO (Multi-National Force and Observers) in the Sinai, UNDOF on the Golan Heights, UNIFIL in South Lebanon, and UNTSO in Jerusalem. The Unit has recently been charged with contacts with the Jordanian Military Liaison Unit. In addition, the Head of the IDF Liaison Unit serves as Head of the Israeli delegation to the Monitoring Group, established after the “Grapes of Wrath” operation in southern Lebanon, 26 April 1996.
The Unit also constitutes a bridge between these foreign forces, the IDF and Israel Government authorities, while maintaining contact between them, in order to assist, escort and supervise the fulfillment of their tasks according to the force mandate.The Unit is responsible for advising the IDF General Staff, the regional commanders, IDF units, and even governmental authorities on matters concerning the foreign forces. Other important aspects of the Unit’s mission are to particpate in the negotiations of cease-fire agreements and delineation of lines, as well as matters concerning locating soldiers missing in action and prisoner exchanges. The Unit also informs foreign forces about the IDF and its missions and educates IDF soldiers about the mandate of its international forces.
The IDF Liaison Unit Headquarters is based in Tel Aviv. The HQ of a sub-unit for liaison with the UN forces is based in Safed, (with branches on the Golan Heights and Rosh Haniqra). The HQ for liaison with the Egyptian Liaison Agency with International Organizations and with and MFO is based in Tel Aviv with branches in Rafah and Taba. The HQ for liaison with the Jordanian liaison Unit and the UNTSO HQ is located in Jerusalem, with branches at the Arava Crossing, the Allenby Bridge, and the Jordan River Bridge.
Foreign Forces Stationed in The Area UNTSO
UNTSO, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, located in the Government House in Jerusalem, was established in 1948 to separate the forces following the War of Independence and its authority was enlarged in the Cease Fire Agreements of 1949. UNTSO today maintains positions in Lebanon within UNIFIL’s territory (Observation Group Lebanon, OGL) as well as on the Golan Heights and in the Sinai. The IDF Liaison Unit continues to liaise with and offer services to UNTSO.
UNDOF,the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force was established in 1974 to supervise the separation and disengagement of Israeli and Syrian forces on the Golan Heights. The Force’s mandate is renewed every 6 months by the UN Security Council in accordance with Israel and Syria. The force is composed of 1300 soldiers divided into two battalions (Austrian and Polish) one logistic unit (Canadian) and a transportation company (Japan). Teams from the UNTSO are deployed in observation posts and are responsible for carrying out regular inspections of troops on the Golan Heights. The force’s HQ is based in Damascus. The IDF Liaison Unit maintains continuous contact with UNDOF and accompanies it on various missions. The Kuneitra Station which serves as a crossing point between Israel and Syria is also controlled by the IDF Liaison Unit.
UNIFIL, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon was established following Operation Litani in 1978 (without Israel’s consent). The force’s mandate is renewed every 6 months in accordance with the Lebanese government and the UN Security Council. The force which consists of 4500 soldiers from 9 nations, and is composed of 6 infantry battalions, is deployed in southern Lebanon. The HQ’s is based in Naqura. UNTSO military observers are deployed in observation posts along the border between Israel and Lebanon. The Liaison Unit maintains continuous direct contact with UNIFIL HQ to handle problems in the Security Zone in southern Lebanon, even though there are no agreements between UNIFIL and Israel. The Unit is responsible for the crossing of UNIFIL personnel at the Rosh Haniqra and Metula crossing points.