|TIPH Mandate Extended for Six Months|
(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
Director General of the Israel Foreign Ministry, Eytan Bentsur, and Saeb Erekat of the Palestinian Authority today (July 31), in Jerusalem, signed a six-month extension of the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH).
The Ambassador of Norway to Israel, Svein Ole Saether and the new commander of TIPH, Einer Henriksen, also participated in the ceremony.
Erekat opened his statement by thanking the donor states (Denmark, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey). He noted that the Camp David summit was the start of a renewed effort in the commitment of all the participants to reach an agreement that will allow the Palestinians and Israelis to live as neighbors in their respective states.
Director General Bentsur, too, emphasized that while the summit ended without achieving an agreement, the sides are committed to renew the negotiations in good faith to reach a permanent status agreement, while avoiding unilateral acts.
Mr. Bentsur added that the permanent agreement will necessitate painful compromises on the Palestinian side as well, and that such an agreement must also constitute the end of the conflict while resolving all the claims of both partiees. "In these sensitive days, at a time when the parties are dealing with the difficult issues which lie at the heart of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, there is a danger of increased tension and lack of stability. At such a time, the stabilizing function of the International Presence in Hebron has special importance", the Director General said.
At the close of his statement, Director General Bentsur emphasized that Hebron is a city of great national and religious significance, and that there is vital importance to maintaining the sense of security and stability which is reinforced by the activities of TIPH. He added that the dialogue between the sides to find creative solutions will continue, free of political rhetoric and external pressures.
With regard to the permanent status agreement, which will constitute the end of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, Director General Bentsur stressed that reconciliation, cooperation and education to peace must evolve between the two peoples, above and beyond the framework of the agreement that will be signed by the leaders.