BERLIN – The Dutch government cracked down last week on the Turkish IHH affiliate in the Netherlands – the main organizer of a planned Gaza flotilla – because of its involvement with Hamas.

Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal told The Jerusalem Post on Friday that he has “placed the [IHH Netherlands] on the Dutch list of terrorist organizations and froze its assets, because IHH Netherlands regularly transferred funds to IHH Germany. This organization is banned in Germany because it has raised funds for Hamas. Hamas has been on the EU list of terrorist organizations since 2003.”

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He added that: “The decision to list IHH Netherlands was taken independently from the current plans to organize a new flotilla. The government is opposed to the flotilla.”

Asked about the slated May or June second Gaza flotilla action, Rosenthal told the Post, “The Dutch government believes that the second Gaza flotilla is countereffective to further opening of the regular border crossings.

Especially taking into account that the Dutch government is trying to advance the export of flowers and fruits from Gaza.”

Rosenthal noted that, “The Netherlands government has called upon organizations to refrain from participation in the Gaza flotilla since it will not help to improve the situation in Gaza. Under Dutch law, however, the government cannot prevent ships from setting sail.”

On Saturday, via phone from Holland, Ronny Naftaniel, head of The Haguebased Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, told the Post that the Dutch government’s action against IHH was “very wise.”

He added that the Dutch Gaza flotilla “claims to be on a humanitarian mission – but everyone sees there is enough in Gaza. Egypt opened its border. Everyone can bring food and medicine into Gaza, if needed. Actually they should help the Arabs under pressure in Libya and Syria, instead of Gaza.”

The Post learned on Friday that main organizers behind the Dutch Gaza flotilla were involved in left-wing and Islamic-based terror activities.

Rob Groenhuijzen, a pro- Palestinian activist in Holland, is its chairman. He was reportedly convicted of weapons possession as a member of the left-wing extremists Red Youth.

Amin Abu Rashed (who has used various spellings of his name, including Amin Abu Ibrahim), is a Dutch citizen with ties with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. He was one of the principal European organizers of the 2010 Gaza flotilla, and was aboard the Mavi Marmara. Israel detained him after seizing the vessel for its attempt to violate the IDF naval blockade of Gaza. According to Dutch intelligence reports, Rashed raised money through the Al-Aqsa foundation in Holland for Hamas.

Yochanan Visser, an expert on Dutch-Israeli relations – who made aliya from the Netherlands in 2000, and is head of the organization Missing Peace – told the Post on Friday that the “The chairman [Groenhuijzen] of the Free Gaza movement in Holland is a convicted terrorist, who was a member of the Red Youth, an extremist organization modeled after the Rote Armee Fraktion in Germany, and has ties with the PFLP. He was sentenced to one-and-a-half years in jail for possession of arms in 1977.

“Officially he states that the aim of Free Gaza is to force Israel to abide by international law, but in reality his views are compatible to those of the IHH. He has reportedly admitted that providing humanitarian aid is not the aim of the second flotilla.

That leaves aiding Hamas and breaking the blockade as the real aims of Free Gaza Holland.”

E-mail queries to contact Groenhuijzen were not immediately returned.

Last week, a majority of the Dutch parliament voted to ratify a motion condemning the IHH flotilla as an action aimed against a friendly nation, and stated there are sufficient legal avenues to provide the Gaza population with humanitarian aid. The motion noted that second Gaza flotilla could be construed as aiding terrorist organizations.

A legislative effort is underway in the Dutch parliament to place the IHH on the European Union’s terror list. In 2009, the parliament – in an unprecedented legislative action in Europe – passed a resolution urging the EU to designate Iran’s revolutionary guard corps as a terrorist entity.

Visser, from Missing Peace, told the Post, “I agree with Dutch MP Joël Voordewind’s proposal to ban IHH in Holland and to add the organization to the EU list of terrorist organizations. There is enough evidence that IHH is a terrorist organization that organizes the flotilla’s only to support Hamas and to provoke Israel... That should be enough reason for the Dutch government to reconsider and to put a ban on the Dutch participation in the second flotilla.”

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