Swiss ambassador issues lukewarm apology to Hebron Jews after activist slaps child

July 15, 2018 by JNS
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Switzerland’s ambassador issued a half-hearted apology to the Jewish community of Hebron in Judea on Friday, two days after a Swiss man from a radical-left observer group slapped a 10-year-old Jewish boy from the city.

Israel flags decorate the 2,000-year-old Tomb of Machpelah complex in Hebron in anticipation of Yom Ha’atzmaut. The same Herodian masonry is used for the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Photo by Yishai Fleisher.

Footage showed a member of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) attacking the boy, who had approached the group as it took a tour organized by the controversial Breaking the Silence organisation, which is critical of the Israel Defence Forces.

The man had entered the Jewish neighborhood of Tel Rumeida in contravention of TIPH’s mandate and sparked a confrontation with local residents when the assault occurred.

In response, Jean-Daniel Ruch, the Swiss ambassador to Israel, said he had “no doubt” that the “settlers” had conducted “some provocation,” but that “it is expected from our TIPH members that they keep their nerves in any circumstance and that “the concerned Swiss individual is leaving the country today.”

TIPH, which maintains a presence in Hebron since 1997, cites as its mission “to promote by their presence a feeling of security to the Palestinians of Hebron.”

Though 80 percent of the city is controlled by the Palestinian Authority, local Jewish residents have decried the organisation’s practice of roaming through Hebron and videotaping the movements of soldiers and residents, interfering in IDF security operations, and attempting to influence Israeli politics and policy.


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