Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday he would eject a foreign force set up to help safeguard Palestinians in Hebron (Al-Khalil), accusing the observers of anti-Israel activity, Reuters reports.
In a statement announcing that the Temporary International Presence in Hebron’s (TIPH) mandate would not be renewed, Netanyahu said:
“We will not allow the continued presence of an international force that acts against us.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced yesterday that his government will expel an international observation force "set up to help safeguard Palestinians" in Hebron, the occupied West Bank. https://t.co/kFR3I8aYv8
— Ben White (@benabyad) January 29, 2019
The statement did not elaborate on the alleged misconduct of TIPH, which draws staff from Norway, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey. The TIPH website says the force works on six-month mandates but did not specify when the current one expires.
— Jesmond Saliba (@SalibaJes) January 28, 2019
A force spokesman declined to comment. Palestinians denounced the move. Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said:
“The Israeli government’s decision means it has abandoned the implementation of agreements signed under international auspices and given up its obligations under these agreements.”
After 22 years, Israel ends role of foreign "observers" in Hebron that began in 1996. Problematic TIPH force currently consists of members from Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey. https://t.co/bngPbWXOQw
— (((Gerald M Steinberg))) (@GeraldNGOM) January 28, 2019
The TIPH was set up after a settler killed 29 Palestinians at a Hebron shrine holy to both Muslims and Jews in 1994.
Most world powers consider Jewish settlements in the West Bank, where Palestinians want a state, to be illegal. Israel disputes this, and the rightist Netanyahu has played up his pro-settler credentials as he seeks reelection in an April 9 ballot.
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)