Middle East: 1954 - Present

“For over 50 years New Zealanders have deployed to the Middle East to one of the first peacekeeping missions in the world, UNTSO. New Zealanders have proved time and time again that while we might be from a small country with an even smaller military, our officers are some of the best in the world. They have observed and reported during periods of stability and war, remaining independent and unbiased throughout.” ‒ Lieutenant Colonel Helen Cooper

There are currently eight New Zealand Defence Force personnel serving as part of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) in the Middle East. These personnel work as military observers and are based in Syria, Israel and Southern Lebanon.

The mandate given to each observer differs slightly but essentially they are there to ensure that peace agreements or cease fires are observed and any violations to peace or security in the region are reported.

There are eight NZDF personnel serving with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO).

They are based in the following locations:

  • Two in Golan Heights
  • Two in Southern Lebanon (Tyre)
  • Four in Israel (two in Tiberius, two in Jerusalem)

The UNTSO area of operations covers five Middle Eastern countries including Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. The UNTSO headquarters is based in Jerusalem, Israel. An UNTSO Observer Group (or outstation, as they are known) is based within each of the countries (with the exception of Jordan).

Each of the outstations are there to ensure that peace agreements or cease fires are observed and to report any activities which violate these agreements or could threaten international peace and security in the region.

UNTSO personnel answer to UN Headquarters in New York.

The posting length and rotation cycle varies dependant on the region that UNTSOs are based in. The New Zealanders deploy into the region as individuals, rather than a group.

The UNTSO mission for NZDF is 12 months, involving six months each in two countries.

This page was last amended on 30 March 2015