RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Secretary General of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, Saeb Erekat, said that the people of Palestine need international protection until the end of the Israeli occupation, in response to Israel’s decision not to extend the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH).
Erekat said in a statement “We call upon the United Nations to guarantee the safety and protection of the people of Palestine not only ensuring the continued presence of TIPH in Hebron but also to deploy permanent international presence in Occupied Palestine, including East Jerusalem, until the end of Israel’s belligerent occupation.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Monday that Israel will not renew TIPH’s mandate, operating in the southern West Bank city since 1994.
TIPH is an international civilian observer group that, according to its mandate, is tasked with “monitoring and reporting efforts to maintain normal life in the city of Hebron, thus creating a sense of security among the Palestinians in Hebron.” It also reports alleged human rights abuses and violations of accords in the city between Israel and Palestinians. Observers for the group come from Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, and Turkey. TIPH has roughly a dozen staff operating locally and an additional 64 working abroad.
Among other measures, this very resolution also called upon the occupying power, Israel, to confiscate arms of the Israeli settlers to prevent them from committing further crimes against the people of Palestine. Israeli settlements have been frequently condemned as illegal by several UNSC and UNGA and a war crime under the Rome Statute.
But to date, said Erekat, “Israel has never honored neither international will nor law. Just yesterday, Benjamin Netanyahu again confirmed to the settler movement that even Israeli colonial installations, considered illegal by Israeli law, will not be removed and that the entirety of the land of historic Palestine is for the State of Israel.”
“The latest Israeli decision not to renew the mandate of TIPH, which has existed since 1997, is an additional step towards Israel’s nullification of all signed treaties, including the Oslo Interim Agreement. It further consolidates the Israeli colonial enterprise and represents one further step towards a ‘de jure’ annexation of further areas in the Occupied State of Palestine. It is also a shred of further evidence that Israel is a rogue state that abhors international legitimacy and places itself above and beyond international order and the international community. With the support of the current US administration, Israel continues to incite against and violate the fundamental and national rights and freedoms of the people of Palestine and to degrade and insult the very body that unites the nations of our world, the United Nations.”
Erekat added “This tragic incident is an embodiment of how the Israeli settler movement has now become part and parcel of Israel’s political and executive leadership. It is also a testament to the terror that has been continuously waged by Israeli settlers against Palestinian villages and civilians. Such horrific reality should also imply a further escalation in Hebron now without any monitoring by the TIPH.”
“As part of their parliamentary elections, Israeli politicians are waging an immoral dehumanization campaign against Palestine and the Palestinians that constitutes an imminent danger to our safety and security. The continuation of Israeli escalations, including the threat of home evictions facing several Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem, against Palestinian men, women, children and elderly, necessitate the immediate intervention of the international community,” he said.