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Jewish youths terrorize international observers in Israel



Hebron Jews harass foreign observers

Concerned that Jewish rock-throwing attacks on Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) observers could strain ties with countries that make up that force, the Foreign Ministry turned to the police and IDF last week to clamp down.

The TIPH is made up of personnel from Denmark, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mark Regev said that TIPH representatives came to the Foreign Ministry some 12 days ago with "serious complaints" that they were subjected to violence and harassment by Jewish children in Hebron.

Regev said the TIPH representatives came with photos, pictures of injured personnel and rocks that were used against them.

"We took these complaints seriously, and communicated directly with the IDF and the police," Regev said. "Our understanding, and what they are telling us, is that there has been an improvement on the ground."

But Suzanne Leuenberder, a Swiss spokeswoman for TIPH, said that the violence is still there both against TIPH and local Palestinians.

She said that TIPH observers were the targets of stone throwing, verbal violence and spitting, and that the group's vehicles were frequently vandalized. "We regularly file complaints with police but so far we have not heard any concrete actions against the complaints," she said.

Regev said that the Foreign Ministry is concerned this could cause diplomatic damage with the countries involved in the force. "TIPH is a force that Israel agreed to. If they are here, and there is violet intimidation against them, it has to stop, and the government should have no tolerance toward this type of behavior."

But David Wilder, a spokesman for the Jewish community in Hebron, said the government should do what it can to get the observer force, which he termed an "enemy presence," out of Hebron.

TIPH was established soon after Baruch Goldstein's 1994 massacre at the Machpela Cave, and has had its formal mandate to monitor and report on misconduct by either side in the conflict extended on a number of occasions.

"We have objected to the presence of TIPH here since they first arrived," Wilder said. "There are a lot of problems with them, and IDF and security officials have accused them of passing on intelligence information during the Oslo War.

We see them as a threat and as something of an enemy."

Wilder said that the group's reports are "very biased and one-sided. We would be happy if they were not here, because they are not fulfilling any useful position. For over two years we were shot at, but they didn't do anything but run away and hide."

Wilder said that while the settlement leaders have tried to go through Knesset channels to get the force removed, "children get more emotional than the adults. Unfortunately the emotions lead them to throw rocks. I don't agree with it and let my children know that this is not how they should act. But people here feel under siege, the events have left a lot of scars, and we are entering a difficult period with [the] Gush Katif [disengagement]. Emotions run high, and sometimes when a target presents itself, like it or not, a target is target."


SOURCE

Jerusalem Post, "Hebron Jews harass foreign observers", 1 April 2005.
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1112239418031

"The Insider" mailing list article, 01 April 2005.

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