Norway's foreign minister on Tuesday criticized Israel's decision not to extend the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH).
“The one-sided Israeli decision can mean that the implementation of an important part of the Oslo accords is discontinued,” Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said in a statement to Reuters.
“The situation in Hebron is unstable and characterized by conflict,” she said, adding that the end of the observer mission, which Norway has led for the past 22 years, was therefore “worrying”.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced on Monday that he had decided not to extend the mandate of the TIPH observer force operating in Hevron, saying, "We will not allow the continued presence of an international force acting against us.”
TIPH has a unique status, despite being a non-governmental organization funded by six countries: Sweden, Turkey, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark and Italy.
Unlike other NGOs, the organization's observers received updates and had regular meetings with representatives of the defense establishment, and they had free access to every place in Hevron, both on the Jewish side and on the Arab side.
The TIPH took advantage of the situation to support the Palestinian narrative. Recently, the existence of a book sold by the organization to Hevron terrorists was revealed. The book states, among other things, that the British Mandate for Palestine ended because of "a series of Zionist terror operations."
In 2011, one of the force monitors was caught violently assaulting a soldier who refused to allow him to pass through the checkpoint to the Jewish area of Hevron in the middle of the Sabbath. In this case, no significant step was taken.
In July, 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.