The US has blocked yet another UN Security Council 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 Security Council meeting on Tel Aviv’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.
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.