THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
ADVISORY: TIPH REPORTS "NO INFORMATION ON THE SHOOTING"
OF TWO OF ITS PERSONNEL
26 March 2002 (3:11PM CT) -- Various news organisations reporting on
the killing of one Turkish and one Swiss member of the Temporary
International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) have included the Israeli
claim that it was Palestinian gunmen who opened fire on the TIPH
A TIPH spokesperson, reached by telephone in Hebron by the The
Electronic Intifada today categorically stated that TIPH had "No
information on the shooting."
At 19.38 GMT the Haaretz website while carrying the claim of the
Israeli army that the gunmen were Palestinian reported that: "Two
members of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH)
observers force were killed Tuesday, after the vehicle in which they
were traveling came under fire from an unknown source. Israeli troops
searched the area but were unable to locate the gunmen."
The website report also added that "IDF sources saying that no
Israeli troops were stationed in the area." The obvious question then
is: if no Israeli troops were in the area, and the source of the fire
is unknown and undetected, how could the Israeli army know that
Palestinians were the culprits?
Some news agencies are less than careful about identifying the
Israeli claims as claims. NPR reported in its 3PM ET news bulletin
that: "Israeli military officials say two Norwegian observers from an
international force in Hebron were shot and killed today. The
observers were killed when Palestinians opened fire on their car in
the West Bank. They were driving on a bypass road used mostly by
Jewish settlers when their car came under fire north of Hebron, and
they are the first members of the observer force to be killed in the
The TIPH was introduced into Hebron in 1994 after Baruch Goldstein, a
Jewish settler in the city, massacred 29 Palestinians during Ramadan
prayers. Tensions between the TIPH and the settlers have often been
high. In 1998, TIPH members reported that Israeli settlers were
increasingly hostile towards them, and settlers shouted "Nazis, go to
Auschwitz" at them. Settler leader Noam Arnon called the TIPH an
"anti-Semitic organization." (Yediot Aharonot, September 7, 1998).
More recently, on March 12th, Israeli incitement against the TIPH has
been noted, with an article in the Jerusalem Post in which a senior
IDF commander in Hebron is quoted saying: "We [the IDF] have
intelligence information that they [TIPH] are giving information to
the terrorist groups."
Palestinians have criticized the TIPH for being toothless to stop
attacks on them by Israeli settlers, but have not been hostile
towards it as have Israeli settlers and military personnel in the
Hebron area. It also seems unlikely that a TIPH car -- which carry
clear markings -- would be targeted by Palestinian gunmen attempting
to attack settlers, which some reports have suggested may have be the
Responsible news organizations should report Israeli claims as just
that -- and wait until the facts are known before reaching
The Electronic Intifada condemns the targeting of all international
personnel working in the region, and calls on both sides to take care
to ensure the safety of foreign visitors.
Prepared by Nigel Parry and Ali Abunimah