6 May 2002

DM Ben-Eliezer meets Ambassadors from countries providing personnel for TIPH
(Communicated by the Defense Minister’s Media Adviser)

Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer met this morning (Monday), May 6, 2002, with the ambassadors from Norway, Turkey, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and Italy – the countries that provide personnel for the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH).

Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer told the ambassadors that Israel was astounded by the depth of the infrastructure of terror in the Palestinian Authority areas, including Hebron, as was revealed in recent military operations.

Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer expressed his condolences regarding the murder of TIPH observers Major Cengiz Soytunc of Turkey and Catherine Berruex of Switzerland on March 26, 2002 by Palestinian terrorists from Islamic Jihad, and assured them that Israel will do its utmost to locate those responsible and bring them to justice. "Regrettably, this is the reality that Israeli citizens in the territories endure on a daily basis," the Defense Minister said.

Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer stressed Israel’s commitment to the Hebron Agreement, which provides for TIPH, and confirmed his willingness to act to enhance the working relationship with it, noting that an IDF officer had recently been appointed to liaise with TIPH.