The member of the TIPH monitor group who slapped a 10-year-old boy in Hevron has left Israel, after the Foreign Ministry demanded that he do so. The Foreign Ministry's action was taken at the behest of the Prime Minister. Switzerland issued an apology on Friday to the Jewish community in Hevron in Judea, after footage showing a Swiss member of the international monitor group slapping a local Jewish boy was released.
On Wednesday, members of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron – a group of European civilian observers who have operated in Hevron since 1994 – took part in a tour of the city organized by the radical left-wing Breaking the Silence organization.
During the tour, TIPH observers entered the Jewish neighborhood of Tel Rumeida – in violation of their mandate – sparking a confrontation with local residents.
At one point, a member of the TIPH force – a Swiss national – slapped a 10-year-old boy from the Jewish community in Hevron.
Video of the incident was released Thursday, showing the TIPH member striking the child.
On Friday, the Swiss Ambassador to Israel, Jean-Daniel Ruch, penned a letter to the Hevron Jewish community apologizing for the incident.
“You are certainly aware of the incident that took place in Hebron two days ago, whereby a Swiss member of the TIPH slapped a young boy.”
During the apology, however, Ruch appeared to pin at least some of the blame on local Jews, accusing them of “some provocation” prior to the incident.
“Though this was no doubt preceded by some provocation on the side of the settlers – the action of this TIPH member is totally unacceptable. It is expected from our TIPH members that they keep their nerves in any circumstance.”
“I wish to express my apologies for this gesture. I also wish to let you know that the concerned Swiss individual is leaving the country today.”