The Yom Kippur War: Separation of Forces Agreement Between Israel And Syria
(May 31, 1974)
Negotiations for the separation and disengagement of forces between Israel and Syria following the Yom Kippur War were held in February and March 1974, when Israeli and Syrian representatives came to Washington and presented their respective initial positions to US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. The Secretary then spent the month of May in the Middle East, shuttling between Jerusalem and Damascus. His efforts to formulate an agreement were met with success when, on May 29, the Government of Israel approved the proposed agreement. It was subsequently signed in Geneva on May 31 by senior military officers of both sides. Below is the text of the disengagement agreement and the attached protocol concerning the functioning of the proposed United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF)
TEXT OF THE AGREEMENT:
Israel and Syria will scrupulously observe the cease-fire on land, sea and air and will refrain from all military actions against each other, from the time of the signing of the document, in implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 338 dated October 22, 1973.
- The military forces of Israel and Syria will be separated in accordance with the following principles:
- All Israeli military forces will be west of the line designated as Line A on the map, except in the Kuneitra area, where they will be west of line A-1.
- All territory east of Line A will be under Syrian administration, and the Syrian civilians will return to this territory.
- The area between Line A and the Line designated as Line B on the attached map will be an area of separation. In this area will be stationed the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force established in accordance with the accompanying protocol.
- All Syrian military forces will be east of the line designated as Line B on the attached map.
- There will be two equal areas of limitation in armament and forces, one west of Line A and one east of Line B as agreed upon.
- Air forces of the two sides will be permitted to operate up to their respective lines without interference from the other side.
In the area between Line A and Line A-1 on the attached map there shall be no military forces.
This agreement and the attached map will be signed by the military representatives of Israel and Syria in Geneva not later than May 31, 1974, in the Egyptian-Israeli military working group of the Geneva Peace Conference under the aegis of the United Nations, after that group has been joined by a Syrian military representative, and with the participation of representatives of the United States and the Soviet Union. The precise delineation of a detailed map and a plan for the implementation of the disengagement of forces will be worked by military representatives of Israel and Syria in the Egyptian-Israeli military working group, who will agree on the stages of this process. The military working group described above will state their work for this purpose in Geneva under the aegis of the United Nations within 24 hours after the signing of this agreement. They will complete this task within five days. Disengagement will begin within 24 hours after the completion of the task of the military working group. The process of disengagement will be completed not later than twenty days after it begins.
The provisions of paragraph A, B, and C shall be inspected by personnel of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force under this agreement.
Within 24 hours after the signing of this agreement in Geneva all wounded prisoners of war which each side holds of the other as certified by the ICRC will be repatriated. The morning after the completion of the task of the military working group, all remaining prisoners of war will be repatriated.
The bodies of all dead soldiers held by either side will be returned for burial in their respective countries within 10 days after the signing of this agreement.
This agreement is not a peace agreement. It is a step toward a just and durable peace on the basis of Security Council Resolution 338 dated October 22, 1973.
Protocol Concerning the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force
Israel and Syria agree that:
The function of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) under that agreement will be to use its best efforts to maintain the cease-fire and to see that it is scrupulously observed. It will supervise the agreement and protocol thereto with regard to the area of separation and limitation. In carrying out its mission, it will comply with generally applicable Syrian laws and regulations and still not hamper the functioning of local civil administration. It will enjoy freedom of movement and communication and other facilities that are necessary for its mission. It will be mobile and provided with personal weapons of a defensive character and shall use such weapons only in self-defence. The number of the UNDOF shall be about 1,200, who will be selected by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in consultation with the parties from members of the United Nations who are not permanent members of the Security Council.
The UNDOF will be under the command of the United Nations, vested in the Security Council.
The UNDOF shall carry out inspections under the agreement, and report there on to the parties, on a regular basis, not less often that once every fifteen days, and, in addition, when requested by either party. It shall mark on the ground the respective lines shown on the map attached to the agreement.
Israel and Syria will support a resolution of the United Nations Security Council which will provide for the UNDOF contemplated by the agreement. The initial authorization will be for six months subject to renewal by further resolution of the Security Council.