The origins of the MFO lie in Annex I to the 1979 Treaty of Peace between Egypt and Israel, in which the Treaty Parties undertook to request the United Nations to provide a force and observers to supervise the implementation of the Treaty. When it did not prove possible to obtain Security Council approval for the stationing of a UN peacekeeping force in the Sinai, the Treaty Parties negotiated a Protocol in 1981 establishing the MFO “as an alternative” to the envisioned UN force.
The Protocol defines the MFO’s mission, provides for the appointment of a Director General to be responsible for the direction of the MFO, and stipulates that the expenses of the MFO “which are not covered by other sources shall be borne equally by the Treaty Parties.” The United States, which was instrumental in assisting the Treaty Parties in setting up the MFO, has formally pledged to provide one-third of the annual operating expenses of the organization, subject to Congressional authorization and appropriations. In addition to the equal funding provided by Egypt, Israel, and the United States, the MFO also presently receives contributions from the Governments of Finland, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Thirteen States -- Australia, Canada, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Fiji, France, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Uruguay -- currently provide the MFO with military personnel that make up the Force and perform specific and specialized tasks.
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's Representatives and their staffs in Cairo and Tel Aviv.