Photo Credit: Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90
Local Arabs protesters in front of the TIPH headquarters in Hebron, January 30, 2019.

The United States on Wednesday blocked a draft press statement that was to be issued by the United Nations Security Council, which had been distributed by Kuwait and Indonesia. The statement attacks the Israeli government’s decision not to renew the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), the official Kuwaiti news agency KUNA reported. In the statement, UNSC members were to express their regret about the “unilateral decision by the Israeli government to end the mandate of the UN mission.”

The 15 UNSC members discussed the Kuwaiti-Indonesia draft—which required a unanimous consensus—behind closed doors. Later, according to Reuters, UN diplomats said the United States did not believe a council statement was appropriate.

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TIPH was established in accordance with an agreement by then Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat signed on January 21,1997, following UNSC resolution 904 (1994) which called for measures to be taken to “guarantee the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilians throughout the occupied territory including, inter-Alia, a temporary international or foreign presence.”

Seventeen years later, also in February, a wiser Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided not to extend the TIPH mandate, which ends this month, stating: “We will not allow the continuation of an international force that acts against us.”

Netanyahu’s decision followed a police report that implicated several TIPH officials of slashing the tires on the car of a Jewish resident of Hebron in 2017. In another incident, which was document on video, a TIPH official slapped a local 10-year-old Jewish boy.

Israeli reports suggest that TIPH officials, many of whom are Turkish citizens, interfere with IDF soldiers’ activities at checkpoints and elsewhere, and help the PA file false complaints against army police “human rights violation.” The reports also say the same officials run joint tours of Hebron with anti-Israel NGO Breaking the Silence for groups of diplomats and left-wing activists.

Speaking to reporters following the Council session, Kuwait Representative to the UN Mansour Al-Otaibi said “the Council members mull the possibility of paying a visit to the West Bank city and other parts of the occupied Palestinian territories.”

Should be an opportunity to sell them a few crates of local wine…

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