Israel pressing Holland to revise wording of 'insulting' West Bank travel advisory

Dutch travel advisory warns of "sometimes violent" "colonists" throwing rocks at Palestinian and international cars.

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June 5, 2015 00:55
2 minute read.
Jewish settlement

A section of the controversial Israeli barrier is seen close to a Jewish settlement near Jerusalem . (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Israel is asking the Dutch government to change the wording of an “insulting” travel advisory to the West Bank that besmirches an entire community by warning of sometimes violent “colonists,” a Foreign Ministry spoken said this week.

The advisory, appearing on the website of the Dutch central government regarding the Palestinian territories, reads: “There are security risks for traveling all over the West Bank, including east Jerusalem.

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“Be alert when traveling there.

Demonstrations and violent incidents occur regularly. Jewish colonists live in illegal West Bank settlements and organize demonstrations regularly around and on the road. These colonists are sometimes violent. At times, these colonists throw stones at Palestinians and international vehicles so be alert when traveling around settlements of Jewish colonists, especially in the hills around Nablus and Hebron.”

In referencing violence by Palestinians, the text states: “Palestinians demonstrate regularly against occupation in various places,” adding that “these demonstrations sometimes involve violence. There are always Israeli soldiers present during demonstrations.

Avoid demonstrations.

Recently, there have been violent incidents in the border area between east and west Jerusalem. They are aimed at Israelis. Be alert in those areas and avoid public transportation.”



The warning also applies to the Gaza Strip, where Dutch nationals are advised not to go because of the risk of being shot in fights among Islamist groups.

“In addition, there exists a risk of becoming a victim of an Israeli aerial attack,” the warning adds.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said the embassy in the Hague has raised the issue of the wording of the advisory with senior officials in the Dutch Foreign Ministry and “emphasized the gravity of the matter.”

The embassy will continue to monitor the situation in the hopes that it will lead to a change of the text, the spokesman said.

A representative of the Dutch Foreign Ministry said, in response, that the travel advisory is intended to give an “overview of the real security risks for travelers, based on several sources.”

The representative said the advisory is regularly updated and that “our main concern is that travelers are being well informed about the real security risks,” adding that the advisory is “ in line with those of European partners.”

The advisory put out by the British Foreign Office is a bit more mild.

It reads, “Israelis living in the illegal settlements in the West Bank occasionally organize demonstrations in the West Bank which sometimes turn violent. Take particular care if you are near any of these settlements, including those in the hills around Nablus and in the South Hebron Hills.”

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