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Erekat: Refusal to renew international observers’ mission in Hebron kills peace process

Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), addresses the media following a meeting with Diplomats from contributing nations to the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) in the West Bank city of Ramallah on 30 January 2019. [ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images]
Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in the West Bank city of Ramallah on 30 January 2019 [ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images]

Saeb Erekat, Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee, said on Wednesday that Israel’s decision not to renew the “Temporary International Observation Mission in the City of Hebron” in the southern West Bank is like putting “the last nail in the coffin of the peace process.”

This came in statements to reporters after a meeting Erekat held at his office in Ramallah in the West Bank with representatives of the Temporary International Observation Mission.

Erekat explained that the Israeli decision “paves the way for settlers to commit their crimes against Palestinians in Hebron and the Palestinian land.”

The Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee called on the countries of the world and the Secretary-General of the United Nations to provide international protection for the Palestinian people.

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Erekat expressed his surprise at the Israeli decision and called on the Mission to continue its work.

He also explained that the Palestinian leadership has been contacting some countries in this regard.

Erekat added that the Israeli decision stipulates ending the Mission’s work on Thursday.

Last Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the decision not to renew the Temporary International Observation Mission that has been active in the city since 1994.

The international force, composed of 64 members, was setup following the massacre committed by Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein on 25 February 1994 inside the Ibrahimi Mosque. Goldstein killed 29 Palestinians and injuring nearly 130 others as they performed morning prayers.

The Mission says it is mainly tasked to monitor and issue reports on the situation in the areas it controls in Hebron, with the aim of restoring normal life to the city.

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