Hotoverly in Hevron
Hotoverly in Hevron uncredited

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said during a tour of Hevron that the international monitoring group TIPH was guilty of "libeling Israel' amidst a campaign urging Prime Minister Netanyahu to remove the group's mandate.

The Temporary International Presence in Hebron, or TIPH, is a group of European civilian observers who have operated in Hevron since 1994. Comprised of representatives from Norway, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey, TIPH says that it "monitors the situation in Hebron and records breaches of international humanitarian law".

During her visit on Thursday, Hotovely said that TIPH was an anti-Israel organization that "represented only the Palestinian side and harm Jewish citizens".

"This body has one contribution, which is to libel Israel around the world," alleged Hotovely. "They are briefing delegations that come to the region from abroad and give a distorted picture of Israel. I turned to the prime minister and recommended that we not renew their mandate in Hevron. The time has come for this temporary organization to finish its job."

The Likud lawmaker also heard a long string of complaints by Hevron residents, who spoke about the harassment they suffered from TIPH. "The treatment of us is like a foreign element," one resident said. "They photograph every action of ours and even the children, even though it is forbidden. Recently there was violence against a Jewish boy in Hevron."

The resident was referring to an incident back in July in which a TIPH member who took part in a tour of the Breaking the Silence organization in Tel Rumeida in Hevron slapped a 10-year-old Jewish boy. The member was arrested and forced to leave Israel by the Foreign Ministry.

A few weeks later, Netanyahu ordered the TIPH commander 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.

On Thursday, Hotovely boycotted a discussion held by the Knesset Subcommittee on Judea and Samaria Affairs regarding TIPH and appealed to Netanyahu to remove the organization from Hevron.