A Palestinian girl shakes hands with a member of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) in the Palestinian H1 side of the city during a protest against Israel's decision not to renew their mandate, January 30, 2019 - Mussa Qawasma/Reuters
CAIRO – 4 February 2019: The Egyptian Foreign Ministry voiced concern over the Israeli government's decision not to renew the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) starting February.
In a statement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez stressed the need to avoid "unilateral decisions violating the provisions of the Oslo II Agreement of 1995 and complicating efforts to resume negotiations between Israel and Palestine to establish a comprehensive and just peace, on the basis of a two-state solution and in accordance with the relevant resolutions of international legitimacy."
Hafez reiterated Egypt's firm stance toward the Palestinian cause and the country's full support for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.
"Any measures aiming at [making] changes in the existing arrangements or the situation on the ground will increase the level of tension and serve only to undermine efforts towards peace," the statement read.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday he would eject a foreign force set up to help safeguard Palestinians in a flashpoint city in the occupied West Bank, accusing the observers of anti-Israel activity.
"We will not allow the continued presence of an international force that acts against us," Netanyahu said in a statement announcing that the Temporary International Presence in Hebron's (TIPH) mandate will not be renewed.
The statement did not elaborate on the alleged misconduct of TIPH, which draws staff from Norway, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey. The TIPH website says the force works on six-month mandates but did not specify when the current one expires.
The TIPH was set up after a settler killed 29 Palestinians at a Hebron shrine holy to both Muslims and Jews in 1994.
Since Israel partially withdrew from Hebron in 1998 under interim peace deals with the self-rule Palestinian Authority, the TIPH has "observe(d) and report(ed) on breaches of the agreements (and) violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law," the force's website says.
Most world powers consider Israel's settlements in the West Bank, where Palestinians want a state, to be illegal. Israel disputes this, and the rightist Netanyahu has played up his pro-settler credentials as he seeks reelection in an April 9 ballot.
"They want to uproot us from here. They will not," he said in separate remarks on Monday at another West Bank settlement.
"There's a line of thought that says that the way to achieve peace with the Arabs is to be extirpated from our land. That is the certain path to achieving the opposite of this dream."
Additional reporting by Reuters
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