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, on Wednesday.
protest came a day after the Dutch water-giant, Vitens, canceled cooperation
with Israel’s water corporation Mekorot because of alleged infractions of
Veldkamp met with Rafi Schutz, the Foreign Ministry’s
deputy director-general for Europe.
Israel protested that unclear
language by the Dutch Foreign Ministry about doing business with Israeli firms
was feeding a pro-boycott environment in the country.
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
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.
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.”
contemplating any economic or financial involvement in the settlements, the
guidelines read, “should seek appropriate legal advice.”
Regional Cooperation Minister Silvan Shalom told Israel Radio that Vitens wrote
that it was compelled to break off the cooperation with Mekorot because of heavy
political pressure from Dutch Parliamentarians and Amnesty
Shalom advised not to “blow out of proportion” the Vitens
decision, saying that a recent memorandum of understanding it signed with
Mekorot dealt with the exchange of information and consultations.
the company, which wrote that it was sorry about cutting cooperation with
Mekorot, said there was heavy pressure on stock holders from parliament members
and anti- Israel organizations.
Shalom said that these incidents prove
hollow the claim that, whenever Israel engages 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 from
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 US
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.”