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Fiji Time: 12:51 PM on Thursday 17 April

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Arrival of Fijians pleases Israelis

Torika Tokalau
Saturday, June 29, 2013

THE Israeli Government has commended Fiji for taking up peacekeeping duties with the UN Disengagement Observer Force at the Golan Heights.

Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN spokeswoman Libi Zipser told The Fiji Times the Israeli Government was grateful to Fiji for its efforts to advance peace.

"We are grateful to the people of Fiji for their commitment to promoting stability in the Middle East and for taking part in the global effort to advance peace," Ms Zipser said.

The 182-member contingent of military and health personnel flew out on Wednesday to the Golan Heights to assist in the 1974 ceasefire agreement between the Israeli and Syrian governments at the Golan, which is increasingly under threat of a spillover from the civil war in Syria.

Fiji peacekeepers, who have a reputation for rising up to the challenge despite the volatile circumstances they encounter, join India and Philippine personnel at UNDOF.

Croatian, Japanese and Austrian peacekeepers have withdrawn from the Golan, citing escalating violence close to the buffer zone.

The Fiji Government has also confirmed that about 300 soldiers would be deployed to boost UNDOF's mission.

Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) Land Force Commander Lieutenant Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga told departing troops this week that the additional personnel were expected to leave the country at the end of the year.