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After Israel boots international observers, Palestinians create local monitors in Hebron

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Palestinian activists in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron have established their own local observer group in the wake of Israel’s expulsion of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) from the city.

Issa Amro, the former director of the Youth Against Settlements (YAS) group in Hebron, announced on social media that he, along with other Palestinian human rights defenders in the city had formed their own group to document the human rights violations and form a protective presence for Palestinians in the city.

On Sunday, the group’s first day of work in the city, a group of Israeli settlers escorted by armed Israeli forces harassed and assaulted the group’s staff members as they escorted a group of Palestinian children to school.

Video footage of the incident shows at least two settlers filming the group while hurling racial epithets at them.

One settler woman attempted to grab the phone out of the hands of a Palestinian who was filming the event. A few moments later the same settler woman was filmed slapping Amro in the face as Israeli police looked on.

Established in 1994 as part of the Oslo Accords, TIPH served as an international task force that observed and reported on rights abuses in the city.

Much of the group’s work consisted of escorting Palestinian children to school, monitoring checkpoints, and using their presence as a deterrence against settler violence targeted at Palestinians.

Issa Amro and the group of local observers escort a group of Palestinian children to school in Hebron (Photo: Issa Amro, Facebook)

TIPH existed under a mandate that was renewed every six months by Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), and was up for renewal on January 31. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced earlier this month that he would not be renewing the group’s mandate.

On Tuesday, Amro posted on Facebook saying that Israeli authorities prevented his group from escorting Palestinian kids to school, declaring the area they were operating in as a “closed military zone.”

“The occupation doesn’t want TIPH or EAPPI, or even the local observers,” Amro said. “They want to silence everyone, but we will not give up, we will continue.”

Meanwhile, a group of Palestinian human rights activists staged a protest on Monday to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre, when a Jewish-American settler shot and killed 29 Palestinians during the morning prayer.

During the demonstration, the activists carried signs calling for the reestablishment of TIPH and an increased presence of other international observers in the city.

Badee Dweik (right) and other Palestinian activists demonstrate in Hebron (Photo: Human Rights Defenders)

Hebron has often been referred to by activists as a “microcosm” of the Israeli occupation.

Following the massacre in 1994, Hebron’s Old City was divided into Palestinian and Israeli-controlled areas, known as H1 and H2, the latter being home to some 800 notoriously violent Israeli settlers.

Some 40,000 Palestinians living in H2 are constantly surrounded by more than one thousand Israeli soldiers and 20 military checkpoints that restrict their every move.

The high concentration of armed Israeli soldiers and settlers has turned the city into a major flashpoint in the occupied West Bank, where human rights violations are a daily occurrence.

Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss. Follow her on Twitter at @yumna_patel

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9 Responses

  1. eljay on February 12, 2019, 12:31 pm

    Palestinian activists in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron have established their own local observer group in the wake of Israel’s expulsion of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) from the city. …

    And you know it won’t be long before shoot-and-cry supremacist Israelis operating in not-Israel and under the protection of Israeli military goons are complaining that “Pallywood” is making them look bad.

    Aggressor-victimhood really is a tough gig…  :-(

    • Abe Bird on February 14, 2019, 1:29 pm

      They are free to play in their on yard, Israel won’t bother them. But sure they can’t do anything on the Israeli part of the city.

      As for the TIPH, it was established as mechanisms for conflict resolution between Israelis and Palestinians. But TIPH violated all rules of engagement for years and it turn to be the long hand of Palestinian activists against the Israelis in the city. They were manipulating violent against Jews and only making more tension in the area. Here some cases initiated by them. They have betrayed their mission.
      http://en.hebron.org.il/news/871

      • eljay on February 14, 2019, 2:17 pm

        || Abe Bird: They are free to play in their on yard, Israel won’t bother them. … ||

        OK, now I’m starting to suspect that you’re really Jack Green in disguise. The style of buffoonery is too similar.

        || … TIPH … turn to be the long hand of Palestinian activists against the Israelis in the city. They were manipulating violent against Jews … ||

        It figures that a Zionist would turn a discussion about Israel and Israelis into a discussion about Jews. Anti-Semitic conflation seems to be a Zionist tic.

        Israelis – the long hand of Zionist Israel – have no business stealing, occupying and colonizing any part of not-Israel.

  2. Egbert on February 13, 2019, 8:27 am

    The Palestinians in Hebron should really consider making twin town arrangement with Warsaw.

  3. RayJosephCormier on February 13, 2019, 9:24 am

    Independent British Journalist Jonathan Cook reports from the historical old Nazareth, not the exclusive Jewish Settlement of Upper Nazareth.

    He writes on this latest Israeli effort to hide the Truth and Reality from the World.

    An excerpt, “Any chance of rousing the international community into even minimal protest was stamped out by the US last week. It blocked a draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council expressing “regret” at Israel’s decision, and on Friday added that ending the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) was an “internal matter” for Israel.

    ‘The observer mission in Hebron acted as a restraint on the settlers’ worst excesses. Now that has come to an end’
    https://www.jonathan-cook.net/2019-02-13/tiph-hebron-settlers-end/

  4. Elizabeth Block on February 13, 2019, 10:07 am

    I was there three years ago, with Christian Peacemaker Teams (you don’t have to be a Christian! Who knew?). We went to checkpoints to observe. We escorted kindergarten children to and from school, our favourite task – they are so cute! Imagine five-year-olds having to be protected from assault by Jewish settlers! And we went to the Ibrahimi mosque, where the bullet holes from Baruch Goldstein’s massacre are still there.
    And I saw settlers jogging along Shuhada Street, which used to be the main commercial street. All the shops are welded shut. Some were looted. The joggers carried automatic weapons.

    • Rusty Pipes on February 13, 2019, 1:11 pm

      CPT is the only international group of observers remaining there. In a recent newsletter they mentioned that EAPPI has withdrawn from Hebron: “After 22 years of operating in Hebron, Israel denied TIPH (Temporary International Presence in Hebron) a contract renewal which, as a result, removed their organization on January 31, 2019. This action has had a domino effect causing another major international organization, EAPPI (Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme In Palestine and Israel) to also withdraw. Now CPT, with a few remaining human rights observers, are left monitoring and documenting the ongoing abuse.” The World Council of Churches (WCC), EAPPI’s sponsor, has been encountering a Zionist smear campaign in recent months. Both EAPPI and CPT have encountered increasing difficulty in getting international volunteers into Palestine.

  5. Talkback on February 13, 2019, 10:49 am

    Israeli settlers attack Palestinian homes in center of Hebron
    http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?ID=782539

    Israeli Soldiers Attack Car Of Susiya Council Head Near Hebron
    http://imemc.org/article/israeli-soldiers-attack-car-of-susiya-council-head-near-hebron/

    Israeli forces destroy Palestinian road south of Hebron
    http://english.wafa.ps/page.aspx?id=3WnZc5a108416087736a3WnZc5

    Just the usual Zionist terrorism.

  6. Rashers2 on February 15, 2019, 10:18 pm

    When on 5th February I read the news of the TIPH’s being unilaterally kicked out of Al Khalil and reproduced on this site the joint communiqué of the five foreign ministers concerned, it was exactly the kind of development Yumna Patel reports above that I feared. These disgusting, feral creatures now feel they can do wholly as pleases them and make the lives of the legitimate residents of Al Khalil yet more unpleasant, dangerous and insecure than previously without those irksome, neutral international observers sticking their unwelcome noses into what the settlers absolutely believe is “their” and no-one else’s business.
    These vile interlopers take it as an unquestionable given that theirs and theirs alone is the right to seize, exploit and monopolise not-Israel. I’m sure if they ever watch video footage of themselves rampaging through OWB communities, vandalising olive groves or throwing stones (“Jewish” stones, of course; since by now we know that “Arab” stones are all terrorist murder weapons, even if they encounter on their trajectories nothing but the earth from which they were lifted) at elderly Arab farmers, not one illegal settler is struck by the absurdity of a bunch of (often very) white Europeans, most of whom appear distinctly less Semitic or Mediterranean than do I, claiming this land as theirs.

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