Israel rattled by peacekeeper withdrawal from Golan

Forces loyal to Assad clash with rebels (Photo: AP)

Forces loyal to Assad clash with rebels (Photo: AP)

Israel yesterday reacted strongly to exit of Austrian peacekeepers from the Golan Heights.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry released a statement expressing ‘regret’ at the withdrawal of 377 of the 1000 UN international peacekeepers who patrol the Israel-Syria border.

Israeli officials said that the move could threaten the role of the UN Security Council in any future peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

The move by Austria comes after heavy fighting between Syrian rebel and government forces over the one border crossing between Israel and Syria in Quneitra.

The Foreign Ministry said it expected the UN to maintain the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) which has been patrolling the area for 40 years.

Last updated: 10:05am, June 7 2013