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.”