Israeli settler wounds Swedish observer

A Swede seconded from the foreign ministry to work as an observer in the volatile West Bank city of Hebron has been wounded by a Jewish settler, his international organisation said Tuesday.

The Swedish member of the civilian observer mission, the Temporary International Presence in Hebron, was rushed to hospital after bleeding heavily when hit on the side of the face by a large stone, the organisation said.

TIPH condemned Monday’s incident, which it said was only the latest in a number of serious assaults on its observers in the area, and urged the Israeli authorities to “take all necessary steps to put an end to these attacks”.

The Swede, employed by his country’s foreign ministry, was discharged on Tuesday after having been treated at hospitals both in Hebron and Jerusalem.

“If this is allowed to continue it is only a matter of time before the perpetrators will succeed in inflicting permanent bodily injury on one of their victims, or in the worst case, the loss of life,” TIPH said.

The observer mission in Hebron, whose mandate is renewable every six months, is made up of foreign ministry staff from Denmark, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.

It works in Hebron under an Israeli-Palestinian agreement brokered after a Jewish settler killed 29 Palestinians in 1994 at the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a site holy to both Jews and Muslims in Hebron.

Its main task is to report infractions committed by settlers or Palestinians. It is not authorised to intervene directly in disturbances and has no military or police power.