- Category: News
- Created on Wednesday, 14 March 2012 13:57
- Written by Amsterdam Herald
The Netherlands is the only nation not to support the diplomatic initiative, which claims the settlements violate international law and jeopardise the goal of separate Israeli and Palestinian states.
It is the first time the Dutch have stood isolated on the issue and reflects the increasingly close ties between Israel’s current government and the Netherlands since Mark Rutte’s cabinet took office in 2010.
The document cites UN figures which show that the number of attacks by settlers on Palestinians trebled during 2011 to more than 400 incidents.
EU diplomats have reacted with anger to the position of Dutch foreign minister Uri Rosenthal after he placed a “general reserve” on the EU document, effectively overruling his own ambassadors.
One European envoy told NRC Handeslblad: ‘What we are seeing is the hardest ever stance by the Dutch, which essentially conforms to the hardest opinion within Israel.’
The move towards a pro-Israel policy by the Rutte government, which was cemented by Benjamin Netanyahu’s two-day visit to the Netherlands in January, has unsettled some senior Dutch politicians.
Dries van Agt, a former prime minister who now heads The Rights Forum, an organisation which campaigns for Palestinian statehood, wrote an open letter to his successor claiming the Netherlands was ‘contributing to the problem not the solution’ on the issue of settlements.
An Israeli government spokesman said the EU report on the website EUobserver was ‘unacceptable’ and partisan.
The Dutch foreign ministry said Rosenthal’s objection was ‘procedural’ and based on the principle that foreign policy should be made in European capitals or Brussels rather than through diplomatic channels.