Israel Protests Dutch Pro-Boycott Tilt

YERUSHALAYIM -

A Dutch water company’s decision to back out of a deal with Israel’s water authority had diplomatic repercussions on Thursday as the Foreign Ministry summoned the Dutch Ambassador to register a protest, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Rafi Schutz, the Foreign Ministry’s deputy director-general for Europe expressed Israel’s displeasure to Ambassador Casper Veldkamp over what it described as “ambiguous” statements by the Dutch Foreign Ministry fostering a pro-boycott atmosphere of Israel in the Netherlands.

Israel said vague government warnings of possible legal problems stemming from doing business with Israeli companies beyond the Green Line were scaring companies away.

A spokesperson for the Dutch foreign minister said the ministry did not insist on termination, that Vitens made the decision of its own accord. Regional Cooperation Minister Silvan Shalom told Israel Radio that Vitens informed him it was responding to heavy political pressure.

Shalom had sharp words for the Europeans, noting that the incident belies the claim that, if Israel will only engage in negotiations with the Palestinians the Europeans will “get off our backs. “We are in the middle of negotiations, but it does not stop the anti-Israel organizations …. They will act even if there is peace between us and the Palestinians,” he said.

“I say to the Europeans, you cannot cry and whine all the time that you are not part of the diplomatic process, and that the U.S. leads it alone, when you take one-sided, unbalanced and sometimes even hostile polices,” he said. “You want to be part of the process? Those who want to be part of the process have to come with a balanced policy toward the conflict, and only then come and demand to be part of the process.”