Interview with TIPH Head of Mission

TIPH Head of Mission Geir Holmenes in a short interview on TIPHs mandate, tasks and the developments in the city.

TIPH Head of Mission Geir Holmenes in a short interview on TIPHs mandate, tasks and the developments in the city.

What is the main task of TIPH in Hebron?

20151115 HOM portrait square.jpg– In accordance with our mandate we assist in monitoring and reporting efforts to maintain normal life in the city, which is also our Area of Responsibility. We observe and report on breaches of international humanitarian law and international human rights law and the Hebron-related agreements. We strive to be present throughout the city, and especially in known hotspots such as the Old City, Tel Rumeida, Tariq Bin Ziad and Jabal Jawhar. We patrol every day, all year around in order to monitor and observe on the situation in the city.

What have you seen over the last months?

– For the past months, we have observed a worsening of living conditions for the local Palestinian population, including the increase of movement restrictions for Palestinians, especially in H2. In signing the 1997 Hebron Protocol, Israeli and Palestinian Authorities have committed to maintaining normal life in Hebron. Freedom of movement is essential for the normalisation of life in the City of Hebron and enshrined by a number of International Human Rights instruments. It is moreover a precondition for other rights such as the right to education, access to health and adequate standard of living.

How is TIPH adapting to the situation?

– In response to the escalation of violence in our area of responsibility, we have increased our presence and activities in the city and strengthened our liaison work with both Parties. We have initiated internal efforts in order to increase our presence. An important part of our mandate is to provide the Palestinian population with a sense of security and from 15 November we have specially assigned school patrols, which will be present at the schools in H2 at the start and end of schooldays. In response to a request from authorities in Hebron, we will increase the opening hours of our Field Office in H2 in order for people living in H2 to come and speak with us directly.