Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee, Saeb Erekat, yesterday condemned the US for blocking a proposed United Nations Security Council statement expressing regret over Israel’s decision to end the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH).
Speaking to the Voice of Palestine radio, Erekat said on the international level, Washington punishes every country that votes in favour of the Palestinians at the UN, and has been trying to impose a regional solution by changing the Arab peace initiative and rewarding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with meeting some Arabs in Warsaw, Poland.
Erekat considered the normalising of relations between Arab countries and Israel “a stab in the back of Palestinians”.
The TIPH was set up after a Jewish settler, Baruch Goldstein, massacred 29 Palestinians in 1994 at the Ibrahimi Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week he would not renew the mandate of TIPH accusing the observers of unspecified anti-Israel activity. His decision heightened Palestinian concerns over their safety. Palestinian residents of Hebron regularly come under attack from illegal settlers and Israeli occupying forces. They often say that they are living under an apartheid Israeli system. The Old City of Hebron is completely divided through the presence of barriers, closures, military zones, and settlements, to accommodate some of Israel’s most extreme settlers.