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Joint statement by the Foreign Ministers of the TIPH contributing Countries

1 February 2019

Joint statement by the Foreign Ministers of the TIPH contributing Countries

We regret the unilateral decision by the Israeli government not to renew the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) after 31 January 2019.

The current TIPH was established on 1 February 1997, in accordance with an agreement of 21 January 1997 pursuant to a provision in the Interim Agreement (Oslo II Accord) signed by Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1995 (Annex I, Article VII, Paragraph 10), witnessed by the US, the EU, the Russian Federation, Egypt and Jordan.

The Israeli decision to withdraw from the agreement with the PLO and thereby terminate the TIPH constitutes a departure from the Oslo II Accord of 1995. We took note that the PLO signed the agreement to renew the TIPH mandate. We are prepared to continuing the Mission if requested by both parties.

Since the UN Security Council adopted resolution 904 in 1994, calling for a temporary international presence in the occupied Palestinian territory, the situation in Hebron remains tense and fragile. We are concerned that the Israeli government’s decision undermines one of the few established mechanisms for conflict resolution between Israelis and Palestinians and may therefore have a negative impact on the situation.

In this regard, we stress Israel’s obligations under international law to protect the people in Hebron and in other parts of the occupied Palestinian territory, and its duty to ensure accountability for violations thereof.

The TIPH has diligently fulfilled its mandate as requested by both parties, and thus contributed to preventing violence and promoting a feeling of security for the population in Hebron. For the past 22 years, both parties have renewed the TIPH’s mandate every sixth months. The contributing countries have supported the Mission to fulfill its mandate at the parties’ request, and in the parties’ interest. We therefore strongly object to any claim that the TIPH has acted against Israel. Such claims are unacceptable and ungrounded.

From 1 February 2019, the TIPH lacks a mandate to perform its duties as previously requested by both parties. The TIPH will therefore close down in an orderly, safe and dignified manner within a realistic timeframe. We call on both parties to assist and facilitate the TIPH through this process and remind them of their responsibilities for the security and inviolability of the TIPH.

We are deeply grateful to all the men and women who have served in the TIPH during the past 22 years, often under challenging circumstances. In particular, we honour the memory of Catherine Berruex and Turgut Cengiz Toytunç, who lost their lives while carrying out their duties in the TIPH.

We urge the parties to make progress towards a peaceful settlement of the conflict and to resolve all outstanding issues. Only a negotiated two-state solution can create a durable peace between the parties, with Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security within internationally recognized borders.

We will remain seized of the matter and will be at the parties’ disposal to assist them in their search for peace.

Ine Eriksen Søreide
Minister of Foreign Affairs

Enzo Moavero Milanesi
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Margot Wallström
Minister for Foreign Affairs

Ignazio Cassis
Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu
Minister of Foreign Affairs