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Norway: Israel removal of international observers from Hebron may breach Oslo Accords

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah (R) shakes hands with Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide (L) as they pose for a photo ahead of their meeting in Ramallah, West Bank on 6 August, 2018 [Palestinian Presidency Handout/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to dismiss international observers in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron may breach the Oslo Accords, a Norwegian minister has said.

“The one-sided Israeli decision can mean that the implementation of an important part of the Oslo Accords is discontinued,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said in a statement to Reuters.

“The situation in Hebron is unstable and characterised by conflict,” she said, adding that the end of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), which Norway has led for the past 22 years, was therefore “worrying”.

On Monday, Netanyahu said that he would dismiss the foreign force set up to help safeguard Palestinians in Hebron.

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

He accused them of carrying out anti-Israel activity. The force was put in place as a result of the massacre carried out by Israeli Rabbi Baruch Goldstein in the Ibrahimi Mosque in 1994 that killed 30 Palestinian worshippers and wounded about 150 others.

“We will not allow the continued presence of an international force that acts against us,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

“The Israeli government’s decision means it has abandoned the implementation of agreements signed under international auspices, and given up its obligations under these agreements,” Nabil Abu-Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told Reuters.

While Saeb Erekat, Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee, said 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.”

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