Multi-National Force and Observers
Three major wars were fought between Israel and the Arabs, in 1956, 1967, and 1973. The most significant of the three was the June 1967 war in which the Israeli forces took and occupied land in the Sinai peninsula all the way to the Suez Canal. After the 1973 war, an uneasy truce existed between Egypt and Israel. In 1977, Egyptian President Sadat went to Jerusalem to attempt to establish a lasting peace. Due to the efforts of U.S. President Carter, Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachim Begin met at Camp David, Maryland in September 1978 to establish the framework for Middle East peace.
The peace treaty, known today as the Camp David Accords, was signed on March 26, 1979 in Washington, D.C.. It announced complete peace for Israel and full diplomatic recognition from Egypt. The treaty also allowed trade between the two countries and the return to Egyptian control all land in the Sinai that was lost in the 1967 war. Implementation of the treaty was not completed until 1982 due to the assassination of President Sadat.
The mission of the Multi-National Force and Observers (MFO) is simple. In accordance with the treaty, to observe and report the actions of Egypt and Israel. This is accomplished through a number of ways: operation of border checkpoints, reconnaissance patrols, observation points, and insuring freedom of navigation through the Strait of Tiran. The M.F.O. has been extremely successful through the years. Since the creation of the M.F.O., no shot has been fired in anger.
A U.S. infantry battalion is located in the Sinai Desert along the Gulf of Aqaba. The two main centers of operation are North and South Camp. The American infantry battalion is one of only three in the M.F.O. There is one battalion each from Fiji and Columbia. The other countries contributing to the M.F.O. mission are Canada, France, New Zealand, Netherlands, Great Britain, Uruguary, Italy, and Norway.