Head of international force in Hevron summoned for clarification

Following publication of footage on Arutz Sheva showing foreign observers puncturing car tires of Jewish man, PM summons head of group.

Eliran Aharon ,

ניקוב הצמיגים על ידי המשקיפים הזרים בחברון
ניקוב הצמיגים על ידי המשקיפים הזרים בחברון
צילום: מצלמות אבטחה

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ordered the commander of the international force in Hevron to be summoned for clarification by the Foreign Ministry following publication of footage on Arutz Sheva in which foreign observers are seen puncturing the tires of a car belonging to Jewish Hevron resident of Elad Fass.

Fass complained that one year ago his tires were punctured several times, but the police investigation revealed nothing.

At one point, the police decided to check security cameras at a neighbor's house and to their astonishment it turned out that the one appearing standing next to the car and bending down is one of the TIPH foreign observers, who together with another observer check that there are no cars and people passing by.

TIPH (Temporary International Presence in Hebron) is a force of foreign citizens who are intended to be objective observers in Hevron. Sometimes called "European anarchists", TIPH has existed in its present form since 1997, and calls Israeli presence in Hevron "occupation".

TIPH’s website claims "the mission was called for by the Palestinian Authority and the Government of Israel in order to support them in their efforts to improve the situation in Hebron and to create a sense of security for the Palestinians in Hebron... Observers come from TIPH’s five contributing countries: Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey."

In the course of the investigation, the man responsible for the foreign observers was summoned to police, where he promised to check the identity of the person appearing in the video and return within a week. Surprisingly, that same week the foreign observer documented in the video left the country.

In a letter to the Hevron police Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir requested the videos and was initially refused by the police, but after Ben Gvir announced intention to petition the court, the Hevron police agreed to hand over the copy of the video.

Attorney Ben-Gvir said last night that his client intends to take proceedings against both the foreign observers and the Foreign Ministry, which has allowed extended presence of foreign observers. "It's inconceivable that the Foreign Ministry allows people who not only write distorted and offensive reports on Israel to stay in Hevron, but that these 'foreign observers' commit hate crimes against settlers and the Jews in Hevron are once again being abandoned. We will not accept this phenomenon. The time has come for the Israeli government to decide to expel them."