Saturday, November 23, 2019

  • Saturday, November 23, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
Al Jazeera and other outlets reported on Thursday:
The government of the Netherlands has stopped sending about $1.5m a year to the Palestinian Authority (PA) because of payments it makes to families of those killed, hurt, or imprisoned by Israel.

The Netherlands' decision came after a motion in parliament was pushed through on Wednesday by pro-Israeli groups who had lobbied the government for years to end its economic assistance to the PA.

The Dutch government's financial assistance paid the salaries of staff in the Palestinian justice ministry.

Israel accuses the Palestinian government of "supporting terrorists" because it provides financial assistance to the families of those jailed or killed by Israel.

"Although the talks with the Palestinian Authority were constructive about this, it did not lead to the desired result and, therefore, the Netherlands will no longer contribute to salaries in the justice sector," the Dutch government said in a statement.

The $1.5m represents only direct funding to the PA. The Netherlands still contributes millions of dollars - paid through European channels - in development assistance designed to help the Palestinian economy and refugees.
It appears that the $1.5 million is being redirected into other Palestinian institutions through european NGOs.

It is interesting that the Netherlands was paying the Justice Ministry. That ministry is perhaps the least transparent of all the PA's ministries - one cannot find any statistics or information on trials or number of people in Palestinian prison from their website. Specific trials are sometimes reported on in the press, but far less than in any free country. Perhaps part of the Netherlands' decision was from the realization that the PA Justice Ministry really just hides its own abuses of justice.

Another important decision out of the Netherlands this past week:
The Dutch parliament on Tuesday approved a motion pushing back against a European Court of Justice decision that ordered the labeling of Israeli goods made in West Bank settlements.

The motion, approved 82-68, calls on the government to object to the ruling, unless similar standards are applied to all disputed territories around the world. It deems the singling out of Israel in such regard unfair and discriminatory.
Israel has heavily criticized the the court’s ruling last week, calling it discriminatory and noting that there are more than 200 territorial disputes across the world, but that the European court had never ruled on any of them.

The Dutch vote, supported by Christian groups in parliament and backed by the governing coalition, does not compel the government to act and is largely symbolic. However, diplomatic officials told the Ynet news site that the strong support from the coalition indicated it would guide government policy to an extent.
Both of these moves are symbolic, but symbolism is extremely important in the Arab world. The EU consensus about supporting the PA is finally starting to break down.




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