European Union critical of Israeli decision to expel TIPH personnel

BRUSSELS, The European Union criticized on Friday the Israeli decision not to renew the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), a civilian monitoring team of 64 people from five European countries, stressing that the team has played an important role in preventing violence between Palestinians and Israeli settlers in Hebron.

A statement by the EU spokesperson said cancelling the role of the TIPH risks further deteriorating the already fragile situation on the ground.

The EU said, In line with the statement issued by the contributing countries to the mission, the EU stresses Israel’s obligations under international law to protect the Palestinian people in Hebron, as well as in other parts of the occupied Palestinian territory.

The spokesperson reiterated the EU policy strongly opposed to Israel’s settlement policy which is illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace, adding that the European Union will continue to engage with both parties and with its international and regional partners to support a resumption of a meaningful process towards a negotiated two-state solution, the only realistic and viable way to fulfil the legitimate aspirations of both parties.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ended the mission of TIPH in the southern West Bank city, created by an agreement between the Palestinians and Israel over 20 years ago after a Jewish soldier and settler shot dead 29 Palestinians while performing dawn prayers at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.

Foreign ministers of the five European countries have also criticized in a statement the Israeli decision.

Source: Palestinian News and Info Agency