United States blocks United Nations Statement on Hebron monitors

Vastavam web: The United States blocked a draft United Nations Security Council statement on Wednesday that would have expressed regret at Israel’s decision to eject a foreign observer force from the flashpoint Palestinian city of Hebron, diplomats said. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week he would not renew the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), accusing the observers of unspecified anti-Israel activity.

The 15-member U.N. Security Council discussed Israel’s decision behind closed doors on Wednesday at the request of Kuwait and Indonesia, which also drafted the statement. Such a statement has to be agreed by consensus. U.N. diplomats said the United States did not believe a council statement on the issue was appropriate.

The United States has long accused the United Nations of anti-Israel bias and shields its ally from Security Council action. Hebron, a Palestinian city of 200,000 people, is home to a community of about 1,000 Israeli settlers who are guarded by a large Israeli military presence. The TIPH was set up after a Jewish settler killed 29 Palestinians at a Hebron shrine holy to both Muslims and Jews in 1994. The city has also seen stabbing and shooting attacks against settlers and Israeli soldiers by Palestinians.

Peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians collapsed in 2014. Most world powers consider Israel’s settlements in the West Bank, territory captured by Israel in a 1967 war, to be illegal. Israel disputes that, citing biblical, historical and political ties to the land.