On the 26th of March 1979 President Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Begin of Israel signed a historic Treaty of Peace between the two countries. The agreement saw Israel withdrawing over a phased period from the Sinai and the types and number of troops in the region specified.
The Treaty of Peace provided quite specific but nonetheless complex limitations on the levels of both Egyptian and Israeli military forces in the four Zones. The mission of the Multinational Force and Observers is to observe and verify compliance with, and to report any violations of, the limitations on military personnel and equipment that are set out in the Treaty of Peace.
Article 2 of Annex I of the Peace Treaty called for the Sinai Peninsula to be divided into zones. Within these zones, Egypt and Israel were permitted varying degrees of military buildup:
Zone A: Between the Suez Canal and Line A. Egypt is permitted a mechanized infantry division with a total of 22,000 troops in Zone A.
Zone B: Between Line A and Line B. Egypt is permitted four border security battalions to support the civilian police in Zone B.
Zone C: Between Line B and the Egypt–Israel border. Only the MFO and the Egyptian civilian police are permitted within Zone C.
Zone D: Between the Egypt–Israel border and Line D. Israel is permitted four infantry battalions in Zone D.
Within Zone C there are two main installations:
Forward Operating Base North (FOB-N) previously known as North Camp is at El Gorah 37 km southeast of El Arish.
South Camp, the location of the military force HQ is located between the towns of Sharm El Sheikh and Naama Bay.
The MFO operates 6 manned remote sites, 5 camera checkpoints and 7 unmanned communication sites in Zone C.
In addiction to the equal funding provided by Egypt, Israel and the United States the MFO presently recieves contributions from the Governments of Australia, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, the republic of South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Thirteen nations (Australia, Canada, Colombia, the Czech Republic, the Republic of the Fiji Islands, France, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay) contribute personnel to make up the MFO's Force. It is the largest element of the MFO and is a joint organization with army, air and naval components.
Contingents in the MFO rotate in and out of the Sinai using a system of progressive personnel changeover, with the exeption of the USBATT which rotates as a unit. Length of tour of duty varies but most contingents spent from six to twelve months in the Sinai.
The Director General exercises his authority through his staff at the Headquarters in Rome, the Force Commander and his staff in the Sinai and the Director General Representatives and their staffs in Cairo and Tel Aviv.