Operation JADE

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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).

Task Force Middle East

Four officers make up Task Force Middle East, the CAF team in UNTSO. 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.

Officers of the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force may all serve on Operation JADE.

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; and
  • Observer Group Lebanon supports the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

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

Mission context

United Nations Truce Supervision Organization

UNTSO employs 153 military observers from 26 countries.

UNTSO headquarters is at Government House in Jerusalem. It has liaison offices in:

  • Beirut, Lebanon;
  • Ismailia, Egypt; and
  • Damascus, Syria.

To maintain a UN presence in the region, UNTSO sends UNMOs to:

  • UNDOF in the Golan Heights;
  • UNIFIL in Southern Lebanon; and
  • the Sinai Peninsula.

Origins of UNTSO

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; and
  • 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; and
  • 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.

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