After Baruch Goldstein gunned down 29 Palestinian worshippers in 1994, Israel was pressured to accept the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), a peacekeeping force whose presence has proved anything but temporary. Every three months, Jerusalem must renew its permission for the force to remain. Eugene Kontorovich argues that it’s time to send the observers home:
The anti-Israel bias of TIPH is built into its . . . mission of “promoting by [its] presence a feeling of security” for Palestinians in Hebron. Protecting Jews from constant terrorist attacks is not part of its job description. Members of the organization even veered from this narrow definition by attacking Jews in Hebron in the last year. The attackers were later pulled out of the country by the TIPH leadership without ever having to stand trial. TIPH has cooperated with radical [Israeli] groups like Breaking the Silence and leaked confidential reports to the press. The organization’s reports are full of anti-Israel claims that have no connection to its stated task. . . .
Unlike comparable UN forces, TIPH is not a separate international organization but an operational framework for security officials from five countries: Norway, Sweden, Turkey, Italy, and Switzerland. These countries are themselves . . . often hostile to Israel. Turkey, the most blatant example, treats Israel as an enemy state. Ankara supports Hamas and has dispatched anti-Israel flotillas to Gaza, promotes anti-Semitic defamation, and works to undermine Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem. Despite all this, Israel grants official immunity to Turkish representatives who photograph and video record Israeli soldiers and citizens. . . .
The continuation of TIPH’s mandate sends these countries the message that no matter how much they harm Israel, Israel will turn the other cheek. TIPH symbolizes the failure of Israeli foreign policy. Faced with a series of constant and ongoing campaigns against it, . . . Israel always reacts out of diplomatic anxiety; . . . as a result, the status quo continues unabated at the country’s expense.