Remarks by Mr. Eytan Bentsur, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at TIPH Extension Signing Ceremony
Jerusalem, July 31, 2000

His Excellency the Ambassador of Norway,
My dear colleague, Dr. Sa’eb Erakat,
The Honorable Mayor of Hebron, Mr. Natshe,
Heads of Mission, TIPH, Einar Henriksen,

We renew the TIPH mandate today, just a few days after the conclusion of the Camp David Peace Summit. While the Summit ended without an agreement, the two sides have recommitted themselves to reaching a negotiated permanent settlement through good faith negotiations and have renewed their undertaking to refrain from unilateral actions.

The attainment of a permanent status agreement is not guaranteed. Much work is still to be done by both sides. Such an agreement will require painful compromises not just of Israel but of the Palestinians as well. It will need to mark the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and constitute full and final resolution of all claims. Indeed, a declaration ending this century-long conflict must be an integral part of any permanent status settlement. And perhaps most importantly, this agreement must form the basis for a new era of reconciliation, cooperation and friendship between Israelis and Palestinians in which the peoples, and especially the youth, are educated in the spirit of peace, in an atmosphere free from violence and incitement. For while peace may be agreed to by leaders, it can only flourish and prosper as a result of genuine cooperation and respect between peoples.

At this sensitive time, as the parties tackle the most difficult issues that lie at the very heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there is a genuine risk of rising tension and instability. In this fragile atmosphere, the stabilizing role of the TIPH will be of special importance.

Israel is confident that TIPH can continue to make an important and positive contribution to security and stability in Hebron. We are encouraged by the modus vivendi which has been reached regarding the day-to-day operations of the TIPH. While differences continue to exist regarding certain aspects of the periodic reports, we are sure that these can be dealt with appropriately in accordance with the TIPH mandate and the understandings reached in July 1999 regarding reporting, and in the spirit of close and positive cooperation with the parties concerned that has characterized TIPH’s operations.

In the coming weeks, it will be especially important that TIPH continue to perform, and be seen to be performing, its mandate with professionalism and objectivity. Hebron is a city of great cultural, national and religious significance in which tensions can run high. The feeling of stability and security in Hebron will be enhanced if TIPH continues to maintain close contacts and uninterrupted dialogue between the sides and continues to place the emphasis on practical and creative solutions in atmosphere that is free of political rhetoric and external pressure.  

 Remarks by Foreign Ministry Dir-Gen Bentsur at TIPH Extension Signing Ceremony-July 31- 2000
 Remarks by Foreign Ministry Dir-Gen Bentsur at TIPH Extension Signing Ceremony-July 31- 2000
Agreement on Extension of the TIPH Operation – July 31, 2000