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Impact of Palestinian Issue Increasing in Holland

By Khaled Shawkat,
IOL Netherlands correspondent
April 21 2002


THE HAGUE, April 21 (IslamOnline & News Agencies) - An upcoming lawsuit against the Dutch government that “broke Dutch law and constitution” in its military cooperation with Israel could be a sign indicating an increasing impact of the Palestinian issue in the Netherlands, especially with the appearance of the Palestinian issue in the Dutch elections’ speeches.

In an interview with IslamOnline, Benji DeLevi, head of the committee of defending the Palestinian people, Palestina Komite, said that his organization will take its protest against the Dutch government’s attitude toward the Palestinian issue to court, by filing a lawsuit against the government.

DeLevi, who is also Jewish, said that the Dutch government has been breaking the law for more than five decades in many ways, including selling highly developed weapons to Israel to be used in deterring actions against the Palestinian civilians in refugee camps and occupied towns.

“The U.S.-made Apache airplanes used by the Israeli army in its last campaign in the West Bank and Gaza to destroy homes and kill civilians are functioning with an electronic systems made by known Dutch companies that sold it to Israel with the approval of the Dutch government,” he added.

The Dutch cabinet resignation over a report on the 1995 Srebrenica massacre was one of the most important elements encouraging the committee to condemn the government on a higher level, as there is no difference between the Palestinian civilians killed by the Israeli soldiers in Nablus and Jenin and the civilians killed in Srebrenica, DeLevi said.

“The government that was condemned for not protecting Bosnians is also blamed for facilitating the mission murders in Palestinian territories by providing them with weapons, regardless of the fact that the Dutch law forbid the selling of arms to regions of conflicts and wars,” he added.

Delevi also said that the committee of defending the Palestinian people, founded in the seventies by a group of Dutch Leftists activists, is currently working on mobilizing human rights and civil society organizations to adopt the lawsuit that will be filled at the Hague preliminary court and to pressure the political elite obstruct any upcoming arms deals between the Netherlands and Israel.

The Netherlands, which enjoys its role as a center for international justice and host of the United Nations Tribunal in The Hague, is having its elections in May and this may be an opportunity to take some promises from candidates to stop arms deals with Israel.

The importance of the Palestinian issue in the upcoming elections was already noticed when the head of the Dutch leftist party began his first speech in his electoral campaign by assuring his party’s support to the Palestinian people and condemning Israeli aggression in the Palestinian towns.

The Netherlands, which has been the most supportive state to Israel in West European countries, is now witnessing a change in its bias foreign policy along with a more understanding position toward the Palestinian rights.

This shift is due to the increasing role of the Muslim minority in political fields, in addition to the activities of organizations, such as the Committee of Defending the Palestinian People, and Palestinian communities in the Netherlands.