Israel Presses to End International Observer Mission in Hebron

And the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. Genesis 18:1 (The Israel Bible™)

Israel has renewed its efforts to bring the ‎international observer mission in Hebron to its end, ‎a Foreign Ministry official said Wednesday.‎

The Temporary International Presence in Hebron, or ‎TIPH, is a civilian observer mission that was formed ‎in the wake of the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs ‎massacre, in which Jewish terrorist Baruch Goldstein ‎killed 29 Muslim worshipers and wounded 125 others ‎as they gathered for a prayer service inside the ‎holy site. ‎

The TIPH mission, which comprises personnel from ‎Italy, Norway, ‎Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey, was ‎originally formed at the invitation of the Israeli ‎government and the Palestinian Authority, with aim ‎of monitoring and recording any violation of ‎international humanitarian law.‎

Recently, however, there has been a growing number ‎of complaints alleging its members are ‎systematically and violently targeting the Jewish ‎community in Hebron. ‎

This recent development has prompted Israel’s Deputy Foreign ‎Minister Tzipi Hotovely to explore ending the ‎mission’s mandate, and a Foreign Ministry official ‎said that a preliminary review has ‎concluded the mission has outlived its usefulness. ‎

Hotovely ‎has brought the issue to the attention of ‎Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said he would ‎review the matter.‎

‎“The presence of the TIPH force in Hebron causes ‎significant harm to IDF soldiers and the residents ‎of the Jewish community in Hebron, and is ‎inconsistent with Israeli interests,” Hotovely ‎wrote ‎in a letter to Netanyahu.‎ ‎“The mission has become a hostile presence on the ‎ground, and it now sees itself solely as a critic of ‎the IDF, while blatantly ignoring Palestinian ‎terrorist activity in the area.‎

‎She wrote that “recently, TIPH ‎observers have taken things ‎further: They no longer suffice with unilateral ‎reports against the IDF, but rather employ actual ‎violence against Jews. As we [the government] will ‎soon be required to decide on whether to extend the ‎TIPH mandate, my recommendation is that we do not do ‎so.”

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