US blocks UN statement on Hebron observer force
The United States on Wednesday blocked a UN Security Council statement expressing regret over Israel’s decision to expel an international observer force from the West Bank city of Hebron.
Kuwait and Indonesia asked the council to issue a joint statement expressing concern over Israel's decision to eject the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) after deciding not to renew its mandate. The force had been monitoring the city for the past 20 years.
THE TWO-STATE SOLUTION
"We will not allow the presence of an international force that operates against us," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last month, without elaborating. The proposed statement suggested Israeli settlements in Palestine breached international law and called for a two-state solution.
Composed of 64 international observers from Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy and Turkey, the TIPH was established by UN Security Council Resolution 904. The resolution was adopted following Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque massacre in 1994, when Jewish extremist Baruch Goldstein gunned down 29 Palestinian worshippers.
Hebron is currently home to some 160,000 Palestinian Muslims and around 500 Jewish settlers. The latter live in a series of Jewish-only enclaves heavily guarded by Israeli troops.