US blocks UN motion against Israel's expulsion of al-Khalil monitors
Iran Press TV
Thu Feb 7, 2019 06:25AM
The US has blocked yet another UN Security Council (UNSC) draft resolution that would condemn Israel for expelling an international observer group tasked with safeguarding Palestinians in the flashpoint West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron).
Kuwait and Indonesia presented the motion on Wednesday after a closed-door UNSC meeting on the Tel Aviv regime's recent decision to suspend the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH).
UN diplomats said Washington did not believe a Security Council statement was appropriate regarding the issue.
The draft resolution, seen by AFP, expressed "regret" about Israel's "unilateral decision" to boot TIPH observers out of al-Khalil and urged "calm and restraint" there.
It also stressed "the importance of the mandate of the TIPH and its efforts to foster calm in a highly sensitive area and fragile situation on the ground, which risks further deteriorating," warning Israel that it has an obligation under international law "to protect the Palestinian civilian population" in al-Khalil and the rest of the West Bank.
Security Council President Anatolio Ndong Mba said that the countries had "exchanged different views" about Israel's decision during Wednesday's meeting.
"There was almost unanimity in the concern for the situation," he added.
Meanwhile, Kuwait's Ambassador to the UN Mansour al-Otaibi said that the UNSC would discuss a proposed visit to the Israeli-occupied territories for a close-up look at the situation on the ground.
Late week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the TIPH's mandate would not be extended, claiming that the monitoring mission "acts against" the Tel Aviv regime.
The foreign ministers of the countries that provide observers to the TIPH – Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, and Turkey – denounced Netanyahu's move in a joint statement and rejected his accusation against the group as "unacceptable and ungrounded."
The TIPH was set up in 1994, when an Israeli settler killed 29 Palestinian worshipers at the Ibrahimi Mosque in al-Khalil.
The mission did not start its work until 1998, after the Israeli military refused to leave al-Khalil following the establishment of an illegal Israeli settlement at the heart of the city.
TIPH's mandate is renewed every six months. Its latest mandate ended on January 31.
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