Why Doesn’t Netanyahu Renew Hebron Observers Mission?
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Why Doesn’t Netanyahu Renew Hebron Observers Mission?

They predicted that under Trump, Tel Aviv will grow more belligerent and suppressive against Palestinians, especially in the occupied territories. The predictions materialized very soon. Trump recognized Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital of the Israeli regime and moved the US embassy to the disputed city. Then, responding to calls by Netanyahu, he cut the US aid for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA). Recently, the Israeli Premier, emboldened by Trump administration backing, in a speech announced that the mission of the international observers in Hebron will not be renewed and so they have to leave the city. Justifying his decision, the hawkish Netanyahu said, “We will not allow the continued presence of an international force that acts against us.” The presence of the international observers, whose mission is formally dubbed Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), returns to an agreement between Netanyahu and Yasser Arafat, the late leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, reached in 1997. According to the agreement, observers from Norway, Italy, Sweden, Swiss, and Turkey were stationed in the occupied Palestinian city to prevent tensions between the Israeli settlers and Palestinians. The Hebron task includes force 64 observers, along with 20 local employees. The mission is not directly operating under the UN supervision. The January 17, 1997 agreement broke Hebron into two parts, one controlled by the Israeli regime and the other by the Palestinian Authority. The need for their deployment was felt after an American-Israeli settler attacked a mosque in the city and injured 29 prayer attendees. Pushing for “deal of the century” The US siding with the Israeli expansionist policies under Trump presidency, the face of which is the new plan dubbed “the deal of the century,” encourages Tel Aviv to more than ever to break its commitments introduced by the agreements with the Palestinian groups or the UN resolutions. With this in mind, Netanyahu by rejecting to renew TIPH seeks to release Tel Aviv from its responsibilities. The Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide in a related comment said in a statement that the Israeli unilateral expulsion of the international observers from Hebron may amount to a violation of Oslo Accords. “The one-sided Israeli decision can mean that the implementation of an important part of the Oslo Accords is discontinued,” FM Eriksen Soereide told Reuters. Saeb Erekat, the PLO Executive Committee secretary, said Tel Aviv had no right to make such a decision. “By doing so, Netanyahu strike the last nail in the coffin of the agreements so far reached between the two sides.” Turkey also responded to the Israeli decision, saying that Ankara supports bilateral solutions based on the pre-1967 borders. The European countries’ stances show that they took Netanyahu decision a sign of Oslo Accords violation. Germany’s Foreign Ministry announced that TIPH is part of the international mechanism to settle the regional disputes which was agreed by the two sides since the beginning of the Oslo process. Illegal settlements The Israeli leaders built settlements for the predominately-migrant Jews from across the world in a bid to transform West Bank demographic structure and so press the Palestinians out of their motherland. Figures indicate that some 430,000 Israeli settlers live among some 2.6 million Palestinians in the West Bank regions. Hebron, Al-Khalil in Arabic, is a sacred city for both the Muslims and the Jews. The city is home to 200,000 Palestinians. Also, some 800 settlers under full Israeli military protection live in various neighborhoods in downtown Hebron. Importance of Hebron for both sides makes it a flashpoint in the Israel-Palestinian struggle.  In early November 2018, Avigdor Lieberman, the then Israeli defense minister, said regime planned to build an apartment building containing 31 units in Hebron. This was the first project in the city since 2002. Lieberman said “for the first time in nearly two decades Hebron will get a new Jewish neighborhood where sometime there was a military camp.” He added that the new neighborhood will not rely administratively on Kiryat Arba settlement, rather, it will be registered a settlement for its own by the interior ministry and Civil Administration. The move was made coincident with the visit of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterre to the occupied territories s and a month after the UNESCO ruled Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi (Sanctuary of Abraham or Cave of Patriarchs in English) in Hebron a Palestinian heritage. Heightening pressures on Palestinians Some political experts argue that by refusing to extend the TIPH mission, the Israeli PM seeks to put strains on the Palestinians in Hebron. The main duty of the mission is to conduct daily patrols and deliver reports on possible civil rights violations by both sides without intervening. The Palestinian authorities view the move a green light to the majorly armed settlers there to pressure the Palestinians. Abu Saddam al-Qasrawi, the spokesman to the Palestinian communities in the city, said the Israeli leaders shoulder the full responsibility for violations following the end of international mission, adding that the measure will leave the settlers’ hands open for crimes against defenseless Palestinians. Furthermore, Bashar Abu Isha, a representative of Tel Rumeida and the blocked areas of Hebron, predicted further daily restrictions on the Palestinians in the city’s neighborhoods and further settlement projects there. So the decision will help Netanyahu press the Palestinians and win the hardline Israelis’ support as the parliamentary elections draw closer.  

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«June 2019»
Islamic Channels are Fading out | Save Them

Islamic Channels are Fading out | Save Them

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