Hebron observer recalled after slapping Jewish boy


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The legal counsel for the observer organization group the Temporary International Presence in Hebron was ordered to leave Israel after slapping a 10-year-old boy in Hebron.

The incident occurred on Wednesday when the Swiss observer joined a tour of the area of Hebron inhabited by Jewish settlers led by the left-wing Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence. The slap across the child’s face was captured on video. It is not known what precipitated the man’s attack on the young boy.

The TIPH observer was recalled by the Swiss government, Switzerland’s ambassador to Israel, Jean-Daniel Ruch, said in a letter of apology to the leaders of the Jewish community of Hebron.

“Though this was no doubt preceded by some provocation on the side of the settlers — the action of this TIPH member is totally unacceptable. It is expected from our TIPH members that they keep their nerves in any circumstances,” Ruch wrote in the letter that was posted on Twitter by Uri Karzen, the director of Hebron’s Jewish community.

The Jewish community of Hebron has called for the ouster of both TIPH, an international civilian observer group with observers from Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy and Turkey, and Breaking the Silence from Hebron.

About 500 Jews live in Hebron, which has 40,000 Palestinian residents.

A week ago, Israeli Border Police Officers manning a military position near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron ran to a Palestinian home after they heard shouts for help. When the officers arrived they discovered a nine-month-old baby had stopped breathing. They administered first aid until the medic of their unit arrived and provided life-saving treatment that allowed the Palestinian baby to breathe again and regain consciousness.

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