Important: A press release on the suspension of a number of international organizations and missions of their work in Hebron in the West Bank due to Israeli harassment.

Sarah Pritchett, spokeswoman for the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, said in a special press statement:

We, at the Euro-Mediterranean for Human Rights Monitor, are deeply concerned about Israel's arbitrary actions towards organizations in the West Bank city of Hebron, which pushed the World Council of Churches (WCC)-Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI)- to take a decision to withdraw its crews from the city due to harassment by settlers and Israeli soldiers, as the Council said in a statement. The Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) consists of five countries (Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey), also withdrew its crews from the city as a result of a decision by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to renew its mandate, following more than 20 years of operations to help protect Palestinians in Hebron.

The arbitrary and increasing Israeli actions against human rights organizations in the occupied Palestinian territories and in the city of Hebron in particular, in fact, effectively reveal an Israeli plan to deprive the Palestinians of any international protection. It also suggests an Israeli intention to commit serious violations in the city by the Israeli occupation without having any international presence to monitor these violations.

The role of EAPPI and TIPH was not confined to monitoring violations, but rather to protect and escort Palestinians, particularly at Israeli military checkpoints in Hebron, especially in the areas of Tel Rumeida and Al Shuhada Street in Hebron, one of the most sensitive and tense areas in Hebron. Credit goes to these groups for filming and documenting the murder of Palestinian girl Hadeel al-Hashlamoun, 18, in September 2015, by firing more than 10 bullets at various parts of her body by Israeli soldiers at the Israeli 56 checkpoint in the city of Hebron, on the pretext of attempting to stab Israeli soldiers, although footage proved at the time that the girl did not pose a constant threat to the soldiers that required killing her deliberately.

We urge the relevant European authorities and the United Nations to work urgently to ensure that the organizations operating in Hebron return to their work urgently and to pressure the Israeli occupation authorities to stop their deliberate harassment of human rights organizations operating in Palestine in general and to respect their work and protect the rights of human rights defenders. We also call upon them to intensively monitor Israeli violations in the city of Hebron and to protect its population.