Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Israel Rejects Dutch Balanced I-P Policy

by Oui Sun Dec 8th, 2013 at 08:27:07 AM EST

PM Netanyahu and FM Liberman must be frustrated not to find a Geert Wilders and Uri Rosenthal setting Dutch foreign policy vs Israel. Dutch PM Rutte, a right-wing liberal from VVD, has embarrassed himself by promising Shimon Peres he would block EU labeling provisions on Israeli goods coming from Palestinian territory. Rutte and FM Timmermans (PvdA) are on a three-day visit to Israel and the West-Bank. Major conflicts with Israel are spoiling the Dutch agenda for an even-handed approach to the occupied territories.

Dutch cabinet isn't united in its approach towards the I-P issue and Rutte stated as such. He doesn't want a proxy-war in his cabinet between pro-Israel (VVD) and pro-Palestinian (Labor-PvdA) ministers.

In the breach: Dutch foreign policy on Israel

(Times of Israel) June 18, 2013 - The [previous] VVD-CDA+PVV government has been labeled the most pro-Israeli Dutch government in history, not only due to the influence of the PVV, but also because of strong pro-Israeli currents in the VVD. Within the CDA, the situation was more complex, with a strong pro-Israeli current in the leadership battling an increasingly strong anti-Israeli current in its constituency.

Dutch-Israeli relations are a constant and very emotional factor in Dutch politics, in both the positive and the negative sense. Following the coalition crisis of April 2012, the Christian Democrats modified their platform, shifting more to the left and adopting a less friendly approach vis-à-vis the State of Israel. This clearly emerged last week, in a plenary debate on the Israeli security barrier. Parliament had been forced to debate the issue, following a public campaign of Christian Democratic `prominent' and former Prime Minister Dries van Agt, one of Holland's most notorious anti-Israeli activists.

...
Several years back, Van Agt established the so called 'Rights Forum', which is basically an instrument for anti-Israeli lawfare in which over a dozen prominent Israel bashers have been united.

There is a disturbing overlap between the board of Van Agt's `Rights Forum' and relevant people at the Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV), an official advisor of the Dutch Parliament and Government and residing at the Dutch Foreign Office. Some names: John Dugard, a former special rapporteur of the notorious UN Commission on Human Rights, former FM Hans van den Broek and former Dutch ambassador in Beirut Nicolaos van Dam.

The results of this overlap emerged last April, when the AIV published a 47-page advisory opinion on the Middle East peace process, its English version bearing the title "Between words and deeds: prospects for a sustainable peace in the Middle East". Despite its lofty references to international law and justice, it is nothing but a vicious indictment of the Jewish State; ignoring the Islamic root of the conflict; omitting crucial historical data; denying or omitting the legal rights of the Jewish people in Palestine; and manipulating facts, figures and UN resolutions.

Dutch FM Rosenthal a Likud Spokesperson

Continued below the fold ... 3-Day visit to Israel, Dutch PM Rutte joined by business partners.


Israel and Netherlands in row over security scanner at Gaza border

(Haaretz) - Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has canceled a gala ceremony planned for Sunday to inaugurate a new container scanner donated by the Netherlands to Israel's border crossing with the Gaza Strip, due to Israel's refusal to view the high-tech machine as grounds for allowing exports from Gaza. High-tech machine was supposed to offer solution to Israel's security concerns about Gazan exports.

Israel refuses to install security scanner at Gaza border crossing

(Volkskrant) - Rutte wanted to officially open a scanner donated by Netherlands near the border with Gaza, but Israel objected. Then it was decided some time ago by the Prime Minister to remove this part of agenda. He did not want to participate in a symbolic opening, his spokesman said.

Netherlands has invested millions in two container scanners to promote Palestinian trade This should enable the Palestinians to export more goods more rapidly, while also promoting the security of Israel. Rutte wanted to open the scanner at Kerem Shalom on the border with Gaza. Israel let him know that exports from Gaza will not be allowed.

Dutch visit to Israel marred by two incidents

(NRC) - Minister Timmermans calls off visit to Hebron due to Israeli interference on his wish to visit the Palestinian sector without IDF guardians.

Minister Timmermans was due this morning to visit the ancient city of Hebron in the Palestinian territories.  Israel insisted that the minister would be accompanied by the Israeli army. Timmermans wanted, like other ministers who have visited Hebron, be able to walk without the protection of the Israelis in the Palestinian part.

Because no agreement was reached the visit was canceled, which in turn led to anger among Palestinians.  Our correspondent Leonie van Nierop is present at the visit and reports via social media.

Netherlands donates 2 state-of-the art container scanners to boost Palestinian trade

(JPost) Feb. 28, 2012 - While Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are stalemated, economic cooperation continues between the two sides with the Netherlands announcing this week it will supply two state-of-the art container scanners to facilitate Palestinian trade.

The scanners are to "promote the economic development of the Palestinian Authority through expanded trade flows, while safeguarding" Israel's security, according to a joint agreement signed Sunday by Dutch Ambassador Caspar Veldkamp and Maj.-Gen. Eitan Dangot, the coordinator of government activities in the territories.

The first scanner will be installed at the Allenby Bridge to Jordan "as fast and efficiently" as possible, expected within six to nine months, and the second one - possibly at the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza - at a later date.

PM Netanyahu in Amsterdam: Iran is our biggest threat

Display:
Tikun Olam - Catastrophic Dutch State Visit to Israel

At the last minute, a major row broke out when the Dutch discovered the scanner would not be used for exports from Gaza to the West Bank, which was its original purpose. Bibi disingenuously claimed his refusal to allow the scanner to be used for exports was a security matter:

    "Our concern is security. It is not to prevent prosperity. It's to enable prosperity without undertaking impossible security challenges."

This claim reminds me of Bibi's equally fatuous claim that he didn't go to South Africa because of budgetary considerations.  And to those Israel supporters who claim there is no Israeli siege of Gaza, Bibi himself refutes it:

    "...We control the material that goes in and out of Gaza."

 « click for bio
Ya'alon with American political activist Pamela Geller

Defense Minister Moshe 'Bogie' Ya'alon also got into the act with disingenuousness of his own concerning the siege:

    Defense Ministry officials explained that for security reasons, Israel wants to isolate the West Bank from the Gaza Strip...

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister: Flotilla Sabotage Thanks to IDF



'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Dec 12th, 2013 at 07:37:59 AM EST
Dutch Jews suffered to the extreme during the Nazi occupation of Holland as towns and cities had kept a perfect registration of all its citizens including religious beliefs. There were many protests in Amsterdam, the strike of February 1941, and at the University of Leiden (film Soldier of Orange). The Dutch have been recognized for their heroism and have many persons listed amongst the Righteous at Yad Vashem.

There are no voices of reason amongst the commenters to the Jerusalem Post ...

Former Dutch FM: Israel needs to show concern for J'lem-EU relationship

TEL AVIV (JPost) - Israel could improve the atmosphere of its relations with the EU if it shows it is genuinely concerned with Israeli-European relations, former Dutch foreign minister Uri Rosenthal has told The Jerusalem Post.

"I am sometimes amazed by the automatic, one-sided orientation of Israel toward the US," said Rosenthal, in the country this week to deliver the Cleveringa Lecture in Tel Aviv.

    "I am a fierce trans-Atlantic protagonist. I am always defending a strong in-depth relationship between western Europe and the US, Australia and Canada. But that doesn't prevent me from advocating for a more balanced Israeli approach between the Anglo-Saxon countries and Europe."

The Cleveringa Lecture is named after Rudolph Cleveringa, who was dean of the law faculty at Leiden University in the Netherlands and on November 26, 1940, protested against the Nazi-ordered dismissal of Jewish colleagues. As a result, he was arrested and imprisoned.

The lecture is sponsored by the Dutch immigrant organization Irgun Olei Holland and the Dutch embassy. When asked whether he felt Israel received a fair shake in Europe, Rosenthal, who is Jewish and married to an Israeli, said it would be incorrect to say Israel had been "cornered" in the EU, as it had been at the UN.

[Must read the comments section, Uri Rosenthal declared the enemy of the State of Israel - enjoy!]



'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Dec 12th, 2013 at 08:11:44 AM EST
And the debate goes on and becomes even more viscious ...

Foreign ministry summons Dutch ambassador over 'pro-boycott atmosphere' in Holland

(JPost) - The Foreign Ministry summoned Dutch Ambassador Casper Veldkamp to protest what it said were "ambiguous" statements by the Dutch Foreign Ministry creating a pro-boycott atmosphere of Israel in the Netherlands. The protest came a day after the Dutch water-giant, Vitens, canceled cooperation with Israel's water corporation Mekorot because of alleged infractions of international law.

Israel said vague statements warning of possible legal problems stemming from doing business with Israeli companies working beyond the Green Line - even though there is no legal precedent for that claim - were scaring away companies, who do not want to take any chances.

A spokesperson for the Dutch foreign minister in The Hague said the ministry did not insist on the termination of the Vitens-Mekorot cooperation, and that the decision was taken by Vitens itself.

A similar problem is likely to erupt with Britain. As it too issued written guidelines last week warning businesses that economic activity in the settlements entails "legal and economic risks stemming from the fact that the Israeli settlements, according to international law, are built on occupied land and are not recognized as a legitimate part of Israel's territory."

Love those comments again! Emotions and ignorance make a combustible compound.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Thu Dec 12th, 2013 at 08:31:14 AM EST
The first scanner was installed at the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge on Jordanian border. The second scanner was to be initiated at the Gaza Crossing of Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom). This gave political strangulations with the Dutch.

Quartet News: Progress on Trade Containerisation at Allenby Bridge

In February 2012 OQR reported on this site significant progress towards containerisation of trade at the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge. At that time the Government of the Netherlands had signed bilateral declarations with the Government of Israel (GoI) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) for the Dutch donation of a gantry scanner.

...
Israeli Ministries have committed to funding infrastructure developments that will house the scanner and support the container operation. The Ministry of Regional Cooperation will contribute 30 million shekels (NIS), which is on top of NIS 300,000 seed money already injected. The Israeli Airports Authority that manages the Israeli facility at Allenby has committed NIS 8 million.

All this is being well received by Palestinian business people who are very optimistic about what it will mean for their trade, and for the Palestinian economy. A report by the Palestinian Trade Centre (Paltrade) provides the projections and numbers that back up this optimism. The Palestinian private sector is impatient to see the work completed and for the operation begin.



'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Fri Dec 13th, 2013 at 09:16:02 AM EST
Secretary Kerry is very dedicated and serious about greater Middle-East peace, equal to no other US official before him. My analysis has been it's not standing alone but part of the quadruple effort:
    If John Kerry and Sergey Lavrov illustrate their determination ...
    STEP 1 -  Resolve CW issue on Syria
    STEP 2 -  Arms embargo and a political solution for Syria
    STEP 3 -  Resolve nuclear issue of Iran with president Rouhani
    STEP 4 -  Finalize a peace treaty between Israel and Palestine

Obama made a courageous decision stepping away from 35 years of biased US policy on the Middle East. Angry Arab states Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar plus Turkey and Israel. Praise from Russia, Iran and Iraq (Maliki). At the moment, new alliances are formed between Arab/Gulf states, Turkey and yes, Iran. Today's adversary is tomorrow's economic partner.

It's a juggling act where there are few partners for peace and many more antagonists.

Continued in my new diary @BooMan here >>.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sat Dec 14th, 2013 at 03:52:40 AM EST
Close to Lanny Davis and the Clinton's ... that explains a lot!

Since 2012, Block has been the CEO and president of The Israel Project (TIP), a Washington- and Jerusalem-based lobbying organization that provides "pro-Israel" talking points to journalists and the public with the goal of giving a "more positive public face" to the country. Commenting on Block's hire, the Jewish daily Forward opined: "Block's reputation as a pro-Israel bulldog seems to stand in stark contrast to that of [former president Jennifer Laszlo] Mizrahi, who chose mostly to engage with journalists and policymakers rather than fight with them."

Block co-founded with Lanny Davis the public affairs firm Davis-Block LLC, earned his "bulldog" reputation in part as a result of his efforts to smear critics of Israel and one-sided U.S. support for the country as "anti-Semitic."

[Source Right-Web]

I'm glad Hillary is history, AIPAC took some losses and Secretary Kerry has invested his personal reputation for greater Middle East peace. I'm always optimistic but I know the deck of cards are stacked against him. All extremists from Arab states, Tehran, Jerusalem and Washington DC are united against his effort.

Cross-posted from Tikun Olam - Center for American Progress Beds Down With Corporate Donors, Muzzles Israel-Palestine Debate.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Sat Dec 14th, 2013 at 08:51:04 AM EST
Israel-Palestinian negotiations finally come into some focus

(JPost) - Finally, after some 4-1/2 months of Israeli- Palestinian negotiations, some kind of game plan is beginning to emerge. Finally, some sort of indication about how this is all supposed to work - the logistics of the process, what a number of the key actors (namely the US and the Israelis) are thinking - is coming out into the open.

US President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State John Kerry all spoke to the Saban Forum in Washington over the weekend, and a careful reading of what they said - as well as comments chief Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni made at Tel Aviv University this week - provide an indication of where the process is now, where it is headed, and some of the pitfalls.

... there must be iron-clad security arrangements to protect the peace, arrangements that allow Israel to defend itself, by itself, against any possible threats. And those security arrangements must be based on Israel's own forces.

But Netanyahu means it, and the Americans know he means it - and as a result, they have set up a team apparently unprecedented in size and scope to look at Israel's security requirements after an agreement, and to suggest solutions.

These types of security analyses have been done numerous times over the last 20 years of Israeli- Palestinian talks, but apparently not to the extent being undertaken now, led by Marine Corps Gen. (ret.) John Allen.

"Never before - ever - has the United States conducted such an in-depth analysis of Israel's security requirements that arise from the potential of a two-state solution," Kerry said at the Saban Forum. "Never."

He said that some 160 people from an alphabet- soup list of US defense and intelligence organizations are involved in the project

Kerry: Israel, Palestinians closest to peace 'in years'



'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Dec 14th, 2013 at 10:20:08 AM EST
Then you have Abbas speaking in South Africa: "Don't Boycott Israel."

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Dec 14th, 2013 at 02:26:57 PM EST


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]