HEBRON, West Bank (Reuters) – Palestinians in Hebron accused Israel on Tuesday of trying to rid the flashpoint city of witnesses to its actions in the occupied West Bank by ejecting a foreign observer force that helps safeguard residents.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that he will not renew the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), accusing the observers of unspecified anti-Israel activity. The force has declined to comment.
Hebron - City - People - Home - Community
Hebron, a Palestinian city of 200,000 people, is home to a community of around 1,000 Israeli settlers who are heavily guarded by a large Israeli military presence.
The TIPH was set up after a Jewish settler killed 29 Palestinians at a Hebron shrine holy to both Muslims and Jews in 1994. The city has also seen stabbing and shooting attacks against settlers and Israeli soldiers by Palestinians.
Israel - Hebron - Peace - Deals - Authority
Since Israel partially withdrew from Hebron in 1998 under interim peace deals with the self-rule Palestinian Authority, the TIPH has monitored “breaches of the agreements (and) violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law,” the force’s website says.
“The settlers’ attacks will increase,” said Aref Jaber, a Palestinian resident of Hebron. TIPH’s presence was particularly helpful to schoolchildren, he added, because they patrol the city “in the morning and the afternoon, when they go to and return from school.”
TIPH - Staff - Norway - Italy - Sweden
TIPH draws staff from Norway, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey....
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