Union of Local Authorities to ‘reassess’ Dutch relationship

Rosh Ha’ayin Mayor Moshe Sinai tells 'Post' of group's plans to engage in “reassessment its relationship” with Association of Netherlands Municipalities.

BERLIN – Rosh Ha’ayin Mayor Moshe Sinai told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that the Union of Local Authorities plans to engage in a “reassessment of its relationship” with the Association of Netherlands Municipalities.
The ULA’s Dutch counterpart pulled the plug on its support for a trip of Israeli mayors to the Netherlands last month because of the participation of settler council heads.
Sinai, who head the ULA’s foreign affairs committee, said, “We are really upset about the issue” and that “political considerations” were given priority over “professional considerations” in the Dutch decision.
The ULA has also been invited to sent a delegation to “visit the Netherlands in late October for discussion about how to promote Middle East Alliance for Peace,” Sinai said.
The Dutch-sponsored Alliance for Peace seeks to generate cooperation between the Union of Local Authorities and Palestinian local authorities.
Sinai said that in this “difficult atmosphere,” the trip might not take place. The ULA wrote a letter expressing its concern to the organization running the Alliance for Peace and is waiting for a reply.
The Hague-based Center for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI) said in a statement on Tuesday that “a majority bloc in Dutch parliament submitted a list of critical questions to the Dutch foreign minister over his ministry’s involvement in the disinvitation.”
“This is a missed opportunity to tell the mayors from the West Bank that the Dutch are opposed to settlements,” said Ronny Naftaniel, the executive director of the pro-Israel CIDI organization.
“To close the door on the delegation was not a message of criticism, but of animosity, which won’t help peace.”
According to CIDI, “four major Dutch political parties submitted a joint inquiry to Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen asking about the extent of the involvement of the Dutch Embassy in Israel in the process which led to the disinvitation.”
CIDI noted that the query was supported by the Netherland’s largest party, the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, and the third largest, the Freedom party, which is headed by Geert Wilders, a sharp critic of Islam and a supporter of the Jewish state.