Hebron city divided between jews and arabs.
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must oust the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), thereby ending the mandate of the international observer force, Public Safety Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) said on Thursday.
He issued his call 14 days before his decision to renew the mandate of the organization that has operated in Hebron for 22 years was expected to be in, based on an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
TIPH has 13 local staff and 64 other members who come from contributing countries, such as: Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.
They are tasked with monitoring compliance with the 1997 agreement that split the city, and handed 80% of it to the Palestinian Authority and with 20% of it maintained under Israeli control. TIPH produces reports and patrols the city to give Palestinians a sense of security.
Edran has given Netanyahu a secret police report with data to back up his assertion that the organization is anti-Israel rather than a neutral force, and is harmful to both the soldiers stationed in Hebron and the small Jewish community that lives there.
"It is no wonder that a force composed of policemen from a hostile Islamic state such as Turkey and pro-Palestinian countries that sponsor boycotts [against Israel] such as Sweden and Norway, interferes with IDF soldiers and police, creates friction with the settlers, and cooperates with radical organizations and promotes the delegitimization of Israel. It is right and proper for the Israeli government to prevent the continued activity of this 'temporary' force acting to harm Israel.” Erdan said.
With his statement on Thursday he has added his voice to a campaign by right-wing politicians, including by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), to pressure Netanyahu not to renew the TIPH’s mandate.
The campaign has relied heavily on two highly publicized incidents that were caught on video. In the first, TIPH’s legal counsel can be seen slapping a 10-year Jewish child in Hebron across the face. The second showed a staff member slashing a tire of Jewish person's vehicle in Hebron.
In November, Netanyahu stated that he would review the situation in December, but has issued no public statement on the matter.
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