zaterdag 14 december 2013

Veiligheidsargumenten geen excuus meer voor Netanyahu


Hoe Netanyahu door de vredesonderhandelingen met de Palestijnen wil komen, is voor iedereen een raadsel. Enig akkoord dat haalbaar zou kunnen zijn, zou het rechterdeel van zijn coalitie doen opstappen, en het afwijzen van Amerikaanse compromisvoorstellen zoals de veiligheidsvoorzieningen die de Amerikanen voor Israel bedacht hebben, zou zowel de belangrijkste bondgenoot als de gematigde coalitiepartners hun positie doen heroverwegen (hoewel ik niet verwacht dat de partij van Lapid ervoor zou opstappen).





No more excuses

Op-ed: Military plan devised by US experts robs Netanyahu of his security arrangements argument


12.09.13, 19:51 /,7340,L-4463094,00.html



WASHINGTON – John Kerry may not bring about a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, but he is rocking the Netanyahu government from the inside. The jolt could be seen Sunday on Netanyahu's face as he delivered the closing address of the Saban Forum in Washington via video. As opposed to Obama, Netanyahu refused to answer any questions. All the questions remained with him – and there are no answer so far.


Kerry, in his hectic efforts to advance the negotiations, is imposing quite a difficult problem on Netanyahu. The military plan devised by a huge team of experts, led by General Allen, robs Netanyahu of the immediate argument he has raised every time he was required to discuss the outline of the future border between Israel and Palestine: Security arrangements. Now there are security arrangements, and they include a long transition period before we leave the Jordan Valley, international supervision over border crossings, and more.


There is a consensus in Israel over the need for tight security arrangements. The American plan breaks the consensus and reopens the internal argument over the 1967 borders and the fate of the settlements. In this argument is it not only the public opinion that is divided – so is the government and the coalition. If Netanyahu is forced to decide where he is headed, which he particularly hates doing, he will find a government in a dynamics of a division.


Habayit Hayehudi will not be able to live with an outline based on the 1967 borders. If it splits from the coalition, it may drag along part of the Likud and possibly all of Yisrael Beiteinu. If, alternatively, Netanyahu refuses to progress on the outline the Americans are paving for him, Tzipi Livni will find it difficult to explain to her voters why she is staying in the government. Lapid may leave after her. Lapid has been realizing for a while now that his way out passes through the peace process issue. Under such circumstances, the Labor Party won't be able to join. Netanyahu will be left with the rightist bloc and the haredim – not enough to sustain a government and deal with global pressures and the wide Israeli public.


PM's defense line: Recognition of Jewish state

Netanyahu can rely on his defense minister, Moshe (Bogie) Ya'alon, to search for and find holes in the American security plan. Ya'alon knows that he will find it difficult to maintain his position in the Likud if he supports a move implying a discussion on the 1967 borders. The work the Americans have put into the plan could bear fruit in other areas, in the battle over the public opinion or in future rounds with a more convenient government for an agreement.


In Sunday's speech, for understandable reasons, Netanyahu skipped the security argument. He preferred to withdraw to the next defense line: The Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. That is the minimum demand, a necessary condition. The demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state was first raised by Tzipi Livni in the Sharon government. Livni believed that at the end of the negotiations, as part of the declaration on ending the claims, there is room for recognizing Israel as a Jewish state. Netanyahu has turned it into a precondition.


Former Minister Dan Meridor, who participated in the forum, pulled out from his cellular phone an old recording of Yasser Arafat's speech in English, in which he talked about "a Palestinian state alongside a Jewish state." The recording proves, allegedly, just how hollow this argument is. Abbas could say, "I adopt Arafat's words about a Jewish state. Arafat gave, Arafat went, bless Arafat's name," thereby turning the Israeli demand into a joke.


Whether we like it or not, Iran and the negotiations with the Palestinians are now intertwined, combined into Kerry's ambitious agenda. They are on the background of the talks about a new coalition of the countries America has disappointed in the region, mainly Israel and Saudi Arabia, and they are the two issues Netanyahu over which is clashing with the Obama administration.


In Sunday's address, Netanyahu referred to them as one. In fact, he said, you screwed us in Bushehr, so don't expect us to give you Yitzhar. He could have taken an opposite policy, making progress with the Palestinians and using the positive response in the world for additional pressure on Iran. But that is not Netanyahu's choice – not at this stage.


donderdag 12 december 2013

BuZa Israel roept Nederlandse ambassadeur op het matje over pro-boycot atmosfeer


Israel heeft inmiddels de Nederlandse ambassadeur op het matje geroepen. Doordat Nederland waarschuwt voor juridische problemen als bedrijven zaken doen of samenwerken met Israelische bedrijven die ook in de bezette gebieden werkzaam zijn, haken bedrijven af 


Wat misschien nog het meest steekt is het meten met twee maten. Bij geen enkel ander land dat gebieden bezet houdt, conflicten kent met opstandelingen of de mensenrechten schendt, wordt een dergelijk ontmoedigingsbereid gevoerd. Daarbij is er momenteel een vredesproces gaande, al is het niet van harte, en moet de vraag waar de grenzen van een toekomstige Palestijnse staat komen en wat er met de nederzettingen moet gebeuren daar worden besproken. Nederland (en Europa) lopen daarop vooruit en proberen de door hun gewenste oplossing aan Israel op te leggen.





Foreign ministry summons Dutch ambassador over ‘pro-boycott atmosphere’ in Holland


12/12/2013 03:16

Protest over "ambiguous" remarks comes day after Dutch water-giant, Vitens, axed cooperation with Israel’s water corporation. 


Dutch Ambassador Casper Veldkamp. Photo: Courtesy

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.

The protest came a day after the Dutch water-giant, Vitens, canceled cooperation with Israel’s water corporation Mekorot because of alleged infractions of international law.


·        Dutch FM: Europe judges Israel by a different standard than other Middle East countries

·        Dutch firm severs ties with Mekorot over West Bank policy

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 any chances.

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.

A similar 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.”

Those contemplating any economic or financial involvement in the settlements, the guidelines read, “should seek appropriate legal advice.”

Meanwhile, 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 International.

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.

He said 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 acting.

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.”


Kamervragen over eind samenwerking waterbedrijven Vitens en Mekorot in Israel


Na Royal Haskoning afgelopen augustus zegt nu Vitens een samenwerkingsovereenkomst met het Israelische waterbedrijf Mekorot op. De reden zou zijn dat Mekorot ook water aan mensen in de nederzettingen levert, een doodzonde, en men zich als semi-overheidsbedrijf daardoor teveel met politiek zou inlaten. Men noemt het feit dat minister Ploumen in Israel een afspraak met Mekorot afzegde als aanleiding voor het besluit. N.a. daarvan zou 'uitvoerig' met het ministerie van buitenlandse zaken zijn gesproken. Het ministerie ontkent overigens dat er druk op Vitens is uitgeoefend, zoals men dat indertijd bij Royal Haskoning ook ontkende.  


Naast mogelijke druk van overheidskant zouden ook anti-Israellobby organisaties en parlementariers een rol hebben gespeeld, aldus the Jerusalem Post. United Civilians for Peace en een GroenLinks statenlid maakten ook amok. De verhalen over de bezetter die water uit bezet gebied gebruikt voor illegale activiteiten terwijl de Palestijnen een gebrek aan water hebben zijn hardnekkig en worden klakkeloos geloofd. De werkelijkheid is veel complexer, want Mekorot levert ook aan Palestijnen, de Palestijnen krijgen meer water dan in de Oslo Akkoorden afgesproken en Israel doet juist steeds meer aan waterbesparing. Ook is er onlangs een overeenkomst gesloten door Israel, Jordanië en de Palestijnse Autoeirteit, waarin Israel de PA extra water uit het meer van Galilea zal leveren.


Mekorot levert inderdaad ook water aan kolonisten. Ook zij moeten drinken en zich wassen. De vraag of en waar kolonisten mogen wonen en waar precies de grenzen van een toekomstige Palestijnse staat komen te liggen, is een politieke, en momenteel lopen er vredesbesprekingen om tot een akkoord te komen. Dat juist wanneer er wordt onderhandeld, en Israel concessies doet (zoals het vrijlaten van veroordeelde terroristen), bedrijven zich uit Israel terugtrekken, zet bijzonder kwaad bloed in Israel. Jammer dat de relatie met Israel na de incidenten van afgelopen week nu verder onder druk wordt gezet. 





Onpartijdigheid? Kamervragen over eind samenwerking waterbedrijven



 Het waterleidingbedrijf Vitens, voor 100% in handen van lokale en regionale overheden, beëindigde dinsdag plotseling de samenwerking met het Israelische collegabedrijf Mekorot "om onpartijdig te blijven". SGP, CU, VVD en PVV stelden er woensdag kritische kamervragen over en Israel riep de Nederlandse ambassadeur vandaag op het matje vanwege de „vage verklaringen" van het Nederlandse ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken die zouden bijdragen aan een „boycotsfeer", zo citeerde de Telegraaf het Israelische dagblad Jerusalem Post.

Tijdens de Nederlandse 'handelsmissie' naar Israel en de Westbank werd het overschaduwd door andere politieke relletjes (Timmermans' afgezegde bezoek aan Hebron, Rutte's als gevolg van de Nederlandse eis tot beleidswijziging tevoren al geschrapte opening van de scanner bij Kerem Shalom): het geplande bezoek van minister Ploumen aan waterbedrijf Mekorot werd plotseling afgelast. Volgens een bericht van GroenLinks Overijssel gebeurde dit op aandringen van de anti-Israellobby United Civilians for Peace.

Het bericht dat het Nederlandse waterbedrijf Vitens de net vorige maand getekende overeenkomst met het Israelische waterbedrijf Mekorot opzegde "om onpartijdig te blijven" riep dinsdag dan ook vragen op. Woensdag vroegen Kamerleden van SGP, CU, VVD en PVV minister Timmermans van Buitenlandse Zaken of zijn ministerie 'op enigerlei wijze had aanbevolen om deze samenwerking te beëindigen'. Dit was de tweede maal in korte tijd dat de minister aan de tand werd gevoeld over de rol van zijn ministerie in het overijverig opzeggen van een waterproject: in augustus stopte Royal Haskoning, verwijzend naar dit ministerie, met een afvalwaterzuiveringsproject.

"Doorgedreven activisme", zo noemde VVD-kamerlid Han ten Broeke deze actie.

Vitens verklaarde de 'neutrale' stopzetting van het samenwerkingsverband met de uitspraak 'dat het uiterst moeilijk wordt mogelijk toekomstige projecten in gezamenlijkheid uit te werken, aangezien deze niet los kunnen worden gezien van de politieke context'. 
Het is daarmee Palestijnser dan de Palestijnen, want Mekorot, een van Israels top10 waterbedrijven, fabriceert in deze droge regio in een groot aantal fabrieken drinkwater (onder andere van zeewater) en levert dit aan Joden én Palestijnen. Mekorot werkt bovendien zonder moeite samen met de PA en Jordanië aan de deze week getekende en door de Wereldbank gefaciliteerde waterovereenkomst tussen deze drie gebieden.   "Hoe weegt u het gegeven dat de Wereldbank blijkbaar geen problemen ziet in samenwerking met Mekorot?", vroegen VVD, SGP en de andere vragenstellers aan Timmermans. (Zie de volledige tekst van de vragen hier)

Bij het beëindigen van de samenwerking door het semi-overheidsbedrijf Vitens lijken deze en andere feitelijke overwegingen echter minder te hebben meegewogen dan de hierboven aangehaalde 'ophef' van de anti-Israellobby United Civilians for Peace, die grote invloed lijkt uit te oefenen op onder meer GroenLinks Statenlid Robert Jansen, die het provinciebestuur van Overijssel vragen stelde over Mekorot, dat volgens zijn partij "drinkwater oppompt uit onder andere de bezette gebieden, waar Palestijnen zeer beperkte toegang hebben tot drinkwater, en vervoert dat drinkwater naar haar nederzettingen".  
De aandelen van Vitens zijn voor 100% in handen van de gemeenten en provincies in het voorzieningsgebied van Vitens, waaronder Overijssel. Donderdag vroeg PVV-statenlid Joram van Klaveren, die de verklaring van Vitens "een schimmig verhaal" vindt, in Provinciale Staten Flevoland opheldering over het "op politieke gronden" verbreken van de samenwerking met Vitens. Flevoland heeft meer dan 4.000 aandelen in Vitens.

Dat het 'neutrale' Vitens wel deelnam aan de handelsmissie naar de Westbank, was in tegenstelling tot een bezoek aan Mekorot geen belemmering om 'buiten de politieke context te blijven', zei een woordvoerder tegen het Reformatorisch Dagblad. (Links naar het in RD hierover aangehaalde bericht op de website van Vitens leiden nu helaas naar een sportproject; een kopie van deze Vitenspagina leest u hier.)


Antisemitisch kerstliedje op Roemeense publieke omroep


Een stemmig kerstliedje, gezongen door een traditioneel koor, op de Roemeense TV. Het klinkt liefelijk en vredig. Gelukkig kunnen we de tekst niet verstaan....

De joden, de vervloekte joden, de Heer zal de jood niet laten leven, noch in de hemel noch op aarde, alleen in de schoorsteen als rook, dat is waar de jood goed voor is, om joden rook te maken door de schoorsteen op de straat.





No-one takes responsibility for anti-Semitic carol on Romanian TV

Shrugging off blame, the channel that broadcast the Holocaust-affirming Christmas carol claimed all musical content was determined by local culture centers.

By JTA | Dec. 11, 2013 | 9:26 PM | 

A Romanian public broadcaster distanced itself from a Christmas carol celebrating the Holocaust that aired on the new channel.

TVR3 Verde, a television channel for rural communities, presented the carol on Dec. 5 during its maiden transmission.

Sung by the Dor Transilvan ensemble, it featured the lyrics: “The kikes, damn kikes, Holy God would not leave the kike alive, neither in heaven nor on earth, only in the chimney as smoke, this is what the kike is good for, to make kike smoke through the chimney on the street.”

In a statement Tuesday, TVR3 said it did not select the carol but only broadcast songs that were chosen and compiled by the Center for Preservation and Promotion of Traditional Culture, which belongs to the eastern county of Cluj.

TVR considers the selection “an uninspired choice and therefore notified the Cluj County Council of this,” the broadcaster’s statement read.

MCA Romania, a local watchdog on anti-Semitism, has written to Romanian President Traian Basecu and to Prime Minister Victor Viorel Ponta, to complain about the broadcast.

“We are shocked to see that the Romanian Public Television Channel 3 broadcast an anti-Semitic Christmas carol,” Maximillian Marco Katz and Marius Draghici of MCA Romania wrote in the letter. “It is outrageous that none in the audience took a stance against the anti-Semitic Christian carol that incites to burn the Jews.”

They added it was “absolutely unacceptable that TVR 3 tried to deny responsibility” by claiming it was the responsibility of Cluj County.


woensdag 11 december 2013

Timmermans: EU houdt Israel aan Westerse maatstaven

Onderstaande speculaties dat de houding van Timmermans gebaseerd zou zijn op een streven om Catherine Ashton op te volgen als EU chef buitenlands beleid, lijken mij onzinnig.
Timmermans probeert een middenkoers te varen, niet alleen tussen Israel en de Palestijnen, maar minstens zo zeer tussen zijn VVD coalitiepartners en het steeds Israelkritischer wordende PvdA kader en achterban.

Dutch FM: Europe judges Israel by a different standard than other Middle East countries


LAST UPDATED: 12/10/2013 06:26


Frans Timmermans says double standard is caused by Europe viewing Israel as a European country.



Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans. Photo: Andres Lacko 


Europe judges Israel by a different standard than other countries in the region because it is seen as a “European country” that should be judged by European standards, Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said Monday.

“There is no way we can disentangle the destiny of Europe from that of Israel, and we better face that fact,” said Timmermans during a lecture at Beit Hatfutsot, sponsored by the Israel Council on Foreign Relations, which operates under the auspices of the World Jewish Congress.

Timmermans said that it was hard for some in Europe to deal with a strong Israel. “It is easy to be Israel’s friend as an underdog,” he said, adding that was something “cultural, part of our heritage.”

What is harder for some Europeans, he said, is to be Israel’s friend when it is “top dog,” and perceived as “not relenting, not giving in to the requests of other people.”

Timmermans, who caused a minor brouhaha on Sunday when he refused an IDF security escort while touring parts of Hebron, said that “Europe needs to devise a more sophisticated diplomacy [when] working with Israel.”

Israeli diplomatic officials were taken aback both by Timmerman’s refusal of the IDF escort as well as the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s decision to demonstratively cancel the inauguration of a Dutch-donated scanner to the Kerem Shalom crossing with Gaza.

This is because the Netherlands is considered among Israel’s strongest supporters, inside the EU.

The officials said that both these incidents made headlines in Holland, and suspected that they were driven by domestic Dutch politics.

Timmermans name has been mentioned as a possible candidate to replace Catherine Ashton, EU foreign policy chief, when she is scheduled to step down next year.

There was some speculation that his actions in Hebron may be connected to his possibly eying that position.

Timmerman’s said that the EU should currently be fully supporting the diplomatic process driven by US Secretary of State John Kerry, and not hold out for an alternative offer.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would “jump at an opportunity to say I could get a better deal if I stall,” he said, indicating that the EU should not give him that chance.

Timmermans said he has done everything to convince his colleagues to support Kerry’s efforts, and that if this effort fails “we are all in deep trouble, and it will take many, many years for a solution.”

He said he hoped that this was understood in Israeli society.

In a direct reference to Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, he said that although there were those who may think the status quo was comfortable today, it is “not good” for the future.

The Dutch Foreign Minister, who left Israel Monday for South Africa and the funeral of Nelson Mandela, said that what was currently happening in the Arab world will not “quiet down in a couple of years,” and would likely continue “for generations.”

Everyone, he said, would benefit from a “closer cooperation” with Israel given its position in the region, its intelligence information and security analysis.

Asked about a recent Dutch government recommendation to the giant Royal Haskoning DHV engineering company to cancel its participation in building a sewage treatment plant, because it was across the Green Line, Timmermans said that “all territories beyond the Green Line don’t belong to Israel, and if you start a project, you need the agreement of local [Palestinian] authorities.”

He said that the Palestinians were not involved in the project, and as a result the government discouraged the Dutch company’s participation.

He said the Dutch government discourages companies from economic involvement beyond the Green Line.

The Dutch are not alone.

The British government last week, on the Foreign Office’s Trade and Investment website, wrote that the UK has a “clear position” on Israeli settlements: “The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Golan Heights are territories which have been occupied by Israel since 1967. Settlements are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict impossible.”

The website reads that “there are therefore clear risks related to economic and financial activities in the settlements, and we do not encourage or offer support to such activity. Financial transactions, investments, purchases, procurements as well as other economic activities (including in services like tourism) in Israeli settlements or benefiting Israeli settlements, entail 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. This may result in disputed titles to the land, water, mineral or other natural resources which might be the subject of purchase or investment.”

Furthermore, it said, “EU citizens and businesses should also be aware of the potential reputational implications of getting involved in economic and financial activities in settlements, as well as possible abuses of the rights of individuals. Those contemplating any economic or financial involvement in settlements should seek appropriate legal advice.”

A spokesman at the British embassy said that these guidelines were “voluntary guidance” and not a boycott.

“The British Government firmly opposes calls to boycott Israel,” the spokesman said.

“We are deeply committed to promoting the UK’s trade and business ties with Israel, a vital element of the flourishing partnership between the two countries. We do not recognize the Occupied Territories, including the settlements, as part of Israel.”

The Trade and Investment website explained Israel’s presence in the West Bank as follows: “Israel’s armed forces occupied the West Bank, the Syrian Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip (along with the Sinai Peninsula) in 1967.” It provided no context whatsoever as to why or how this occurred, or what prompted the Six Day War.


Nederland start samenwerkingsfora met Israel en PA (CIDI)


Nederland gaat uit van een precieze gelijke behandeling, alsof het om twee gelijkwaardige staten gaat. Anderhalve dag bij de een op bezoek, anderhalve dag bij de ander. Beide krijgen ook precies dezelfde voorwaarden en deals aangeboden. In werkelijkheid gaat het om een redelijk functionerende Westerse democratie met een hoogontwikkelde technologie sector, en een gebied waar een volk beperkte autonomie heeft en moeizaam instituties opzet en streeft naar nationale onafhankelijkheid. Er is daarbij (zoals in een groot deel van de wereld) veel corruptie, men is afhankelijk van Westerse subsidies en hulp, en er is steeds de dreiging van radikale groeperingen. De vrijheid van meningsuiting staat onder druk en een onafhankelijke rechtsspraak wil niet echt van de grond komen.  


Twee totaal onvergelijkbare grootheden dus, en het lijkt niet meer dan logisch dat de een als gelijkwaardige partner en de ander als een ontwikkelingsland/gebied wordt behandeld, waarbij steun van democratische instituties en het tegengaan van radikalisme en corruptie voorop moeten staan. Maar dergelijke logica is niet van toepassing op de Palestijnen, die zowel de meeste hulp krijgen per hoofd van de bevolking alsook een gelijkwaardige handelspartner moeten worden als Israel, want anders is het niet eerlijk.

Nederlands poging om alles gelijkwaardig te doen leidde er ook toe dat men beide partijen kwaad heeft gekregen. Vooral de strubbelingen met Israel kregen daarbij veel media aandacht. Daarbij was de feitelijke informatie minimaal en de toon vaak negatief naar Israel.

Het geruzie over de opening van de met Nederlands geld gefinancierde containerscanner bij Kerem Shalom, bij de grens met Gaza, lijkt vooral te zijn aangewakkerd door de media. Het gaat om een containerscanner die de grenscontrole kan vergemakkelijken. Nederland gaf deze in 2012 aan de Palestijnse Autoriteit, en Israel betaalde de (hoge) kosten voor de infrastructuur die nodig was om ze in werking te stellen.

De media suggereerden dat de feestelijke opening van de scanner op het laatst was afgezegd, maar Rutte en diplomatieke bronnen ontkennen dat. Hoe dat ook zij, nergens wordt vermeld dat de scanners al in 2012 aan de PA (en dus niet aan Israel) werden geschonken, en dat Israel ook de nodige kosten heeft gemaakt om ze in werking te stellen. Nee, in de media ontstond een beeld van weggegooid Nederlands geld omdat Israel weer eens, zonder enige reden, dwars ligt.


Ook is er onduidelijkheid over wat Gaza in en uit mag. Zo wordt er behoorlijk wat geëxporteerd naar o.a. Europa, en kunnen Gazanen wat makkelijker de grens over (zie:

Het probleem zat hem in de export naar de Westbank. Nederland eiste dat die ook weer zou worden toegestaan en dat weigerde Israel.


Overigens vind ik Israel ook niet helemaal oprecht: enerzijds heeft men het over veiligheidsrdenen waarom er geen goederen van de Gazastrook naar de Westbank mogen worden geëxporteerd, maar daar zou die scanner nou juist een oplossing voor zijn. Anderzijds wordt gezegd dat het om 'politieke zaken' gaat en Nederland niet kan verwachten dat die zomaar even worden veranderd omdat men dat graag ziet. Die zaken lijken elkaar tegen te spreken. Zo zei Netanyahu:

"we welcome the bringing in of scanners to make sure that at least we control the material that goes in and out of Gaza. But our concern is security. It is not to prevent prosperity. It's to enable prosperity without undertaking impossible security challenges. The Dutch scanner I think is an important contribution to that. It's already there. It can facilitate right now the screening of goods that go out to the European markets. We want to make sure that goods that go from there, from Gaza, do not contain weapons or explosives that can reach the Palestinian Authority areas," Netanyahu said.

Ynet citeert een 'Israeli official' met een ander verhaal:

"Technically, there is no problem about the scanner at the Kerem Shalom crossing through which goods originating in Gaza pass," the official said.

"But the Dutch suddenly imposed political conditions, notably on the percentage of merchandise destined for the West Bank or abroad.

"These are political issues that need to be resolved at the highest level, which will delay the start-up of the scanner."

Het gaat dus niet om veiligheid maar om een verandering in beleid, ofwel een versoepeling van de export voorwaarden. En dat heeft dus wel met 'prosperity' te maken. Overigens vind ik Nederland ook wel behoorlijk bemoeizuchtig overkomen, en ik kan me er wel iets bij voorstellen dat Israel zo langzaamaan wat allergisch reageert op al die Westerse en vooral Europese bemoeizucht.





Nederland start samenwerkingsfora met Israel en PA 


DOOR ELISE FRIEDMANN / OP 09/12/2013 OM 17:21 /


De bilaterale samenwerkingsfora tussen Nederland en de Palestijnse Autoriteit en tussen Nederland en Israel zijn dit weekend officieel opgericht. Premier Rutte en de ministers Timmermans en Ploumen tekenden de overeenkomsten tijdens een roerig gestart driedaags bezoek aan de regio.


Een afgezegde wandeling van Timmermans door de kasba van Hebron en de niet uitgevoerde opening van een containerscanner door Rutte bij Kerem Shalom zorgden zondag voor ophef. Vooral aanvankelijk was dit aanleiding tot kritiek op de Nederlandse diplomatie: zo constateerde CDA-Kamerlid Pieter Omtzigt 'dat er een patroon van ruzie bij de regering met het buitenland is ontstaan. Eerst ruzies bij bezoeken aan Rusland en Turkije, nu weer bij ontmoetingen in Israël en Palestijns gebied.'En dat terwijl het doel van de reis was om de vriendschappelijke banden met zowel Israël als de Palestijnen aan te halen. RTL-correspondent Roel Geeraedts sprak in een column van het "Ministerie van Gekkigheid" en uitte zijn verbazing over de enorme 'damage control' waarmee het Nederlandse bezoek gepaard ging.


Timmermans' bezoek aan Hebron was al tijdens de voorbereiding punt van discussie, omdat hij juist een 'kolonistenstraat' uitgerekend op zaterdag wilde bezoeken, de rustdag van de religieuze kolonisten daar. In het verleden zorgden bezichtigingen van die straat op Sjabat voor fikse scheldkanonnades en agressieve reacties, die Israel liever wilde vermijden. Hetzelfde gold voor Timmermans' plannen om op Sjabbat een bezoek te brengen aan de Machpela, de grotten waar volgens de Joodse traditie de aartsvaders begraven liggen. Timmermans verplaatste deze bezoeken naar zondag, maar uiteindelijk werd het hele bezoek aan de oude stad van Hebron afgeblazen. Israel stond erop Timmermans met soldaten te bewaken en Timmermans weigerde dit, omdat de PA verantwoordelijk is voor de veiligheid in dat deel van de stad. Toen de IDF vasthield aan de bewaking, zegde Timmermans het bezoek af, waarop de Palestijnen, de burgemeester van Hebron voorop, weer boos reageerden.


Het geruzie over de opening van de met Nederlands geld gefinancierde containerscanner bij Kerem Shalom, bij de grens met Gaza, lijkt vooral te zijn aangewakkerd door de media. Het gaat om een containerscanner die de grenscontrole kan vergemakkelijken. Nederland gaf deze in 2012 aan de Palestijnse Autoriteit, en Israel betaalde de (hoge) kosten voor de infrastructuur die nodig was om ze in werking te stellen.
Rutte zou de feestelijke opening van de scanner bij Kerem Shalom op het laatste moment hebben afgezegd, meldde het dagblad Ha'aretz. Volgens Rutte was die opening echter al eerder afgezegd. 
Over de reden liet Rutte zich niet uit, maar volgens Israelische bronnen wilde hij de opening alleen verrichten als deze containerscanner ook meteen zou dienen voor de uitvoer van goederen van Gaza naar de Westbank. Israël staat export naar de Westbank echter niet toe, uit vrees dat er op die manier wapens naar de PA zouden worden gesluisd: de scanner kan worden gebruikt voor de uitvoer van producten via de Israelische havenstad Ashdod naar de hele wereld, behalve uitgerekend de Westbank. Wat Rutte vroeg was dus een verandering van het hele Israelische beleid over de uitvoer uit Gaza. Toen Israel daartoe niet bereid was, zegde Rutte de opening af. Hij zou tot het laatste moment hebben aangedrongen op de door hem gewenste beleidswijziging.
Volgens Rutte was de scanner nu juist bedoeld om de toenadering tussen Gaza en de Westbank te bevorderen; volgens Israel was er slechts sprake van dat dit 'in de toekomst' zou gebeuren.


dinsdag 10 december 2013

Israel, Jordanie en Palestijnen gaan Rode Zee waterpijplijn aanleggen

Israel, Jordan, Palestinians to finally build Red-Dead pipeline
Project aims to provide the region with millions of cubic meters of drinking water, while replenishing the ailing salt lake

Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority were set on Monday to ink an agreement to build a long-anticipated pipeline from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea, part of an initiative that would produce millions of cubic meters of drinking water for the parched region and slake the critically dwindling Dead Sea.

Representatives of the three parties to the agreement – Israel’s Minister for Regional Cooperation Silvan Shalom, Jordanian Minister of Water and Irrigation Hazem Nasser, and Palestinian Authority Minister for Water Shaddad Attili – were scheduled to gather at the World Bank in Washington for an official signing ceremony.

“We’re talking about a historic process that realizes a dream of many years,” Shalom told Yedioth Ahronoth, which broke the story. “We have here strategic cooperation of national significance between Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority.”

The Red Sea-Dead Sea canal, known informally as the Red-Dead project, is expected to cost $250-$400 million, to be raised from donor countries and philanthropic sources as well as a cash injection from the World Bank, the report said. Within a year, international tenders will be published for the construction of the pipeline in Jordanian territory along the Arava valley.

The surface of the Dead Sea lies some 427 meters (1,400 feet) below sea level, and water would naturally flow to it from the Red Sea. The project will be completed in four to five years, the report said.

According to the report, around 200 million cubic meters of sea water are to be pumped from the Red Sea, at the very southern tip of Israel, per year. A desalination plant in the Jordanian city of Aqaba, across the gulf from the Israeli resort town of Eilat, will produce drinking water. Israel is to receive around 30-50 million cubic meters, for the benefit of the port city of Eilat and communities in the the arid Arava region, while Jordan will use 30 million cubic meters for its own southern areas. 

One hundred million cubic meters of the highly saline byproduct of the process will be piped north to the Dead Sea to replenish the lake, whose level has dipped precariously in recent decades. Environmentalists have warned that pumping the water into the Dead Sea will endanger the environment.

In addition, Israel will pump from the Sea of Galilee 50 million cubic meters of fresh water for Jordan’s northern regions and 30 million cubic meters for the Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank.

The idea of a conduit between the two bodies of water was first put forward by the British during the 19th century. In the 1990s, after Israel and Jordan signed a peace agreement, the idea of laying a pipeline from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea began to gain momentum. 


Nelson Mandela en Israel

Mandela was niet anti-Israel maar wel kritisch over de bezetting. 

While he supported Zionism in principle, he believed that if there was to be peace in the Middle East, Israel must negotiate a two-state solution with the Palestinians and avoid becoming a binational “apartheid state” – or risk becoming an international pariah like apartheid South Africa.


There was a war. But if there is going to be peace, there must be complete withdrawal from all of these areas.”

He did, however, acknowledge Israel’s legitimate security concerns, declaring: “I cannot conceive of Israel withdrawing if Arab states do not recognize Israel within secure borders.”

Zionisme en kritiek op de bezetting gaan heel goed samen, al krijg je uit de media en ook uit uitlatingen van sommige Israel-sympathisanten weleens een ander beeld.


Natuurlijk spannen de Palestijnen Mandela voor hun karretje, en stellen de door en door racistische Apartheid waar Mandela tegen streed gelijk met de Israelische bezetting die een gevolg is van een oorlog door de Arabische staten uitgelokt. De vergelijking gaat op zo ongeveer alle punten mank, zoals ook vooraanstaande anti-Apartheidsstrijders al vaak hebben betoogd.





Mandela and Israel


LAST UPDATED: 12/06/2013 04:14


The iconic South African leader had an ambivalent relationship with the Jewish state.

As I introduced myself, feeling the strength in his large hand, he smiled and said, “Shalom!” I was dumbstruck by the powerful presence of Nelson Mandela, the legendary leader of the country in which I had grown up, the man credited with ending the brutal apartheid regime.

But there he was, his large frame cutting a regal figure, choosing his words carefully in his distinct African accent, sitting opposite me and several other journalists and photographers around a table at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem on October 19, 1999.

Holding hands as he walked out of a meeting with foreign minister David Levy, Mandela agreed to answer a few questions, and – as a reporter for Israel Radio’s English News – I recorded his answers.


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Asked why he had finally decided to visit Israel, he replied, “To the many people who have questioned why I came, I say: Israel worked very closely with the apartheid regime. I say: I’ve made peace with many men who slaughtered our people like animals. Israel cooperated with the apartheid regime, but it did not participate in any atrocities.”

Mandela voiced his vehement opposition to Israel’s control of the territories it had “occupied” in the Six Day War, and he urged it to concede land to the Palestinians and Syrians, just as it had done with the Egyptians, for the sake of peace.

“My view is that talk of peace remains hollow if Israel continues to occupy Arab lands,” he said.

“I understand completely well why Israel occupies these lands.

There was a war. But if there is going to be peace, there must be complete withdrawal from all of these areas.”

He did, however, acknowledge Israel’s legitimate security concerns, declaring: “I cannot conceive of Israel withdrawing if Arab states do not recognize Israel within secure borders.”

One of Mandela’s greatest strengths was his ability to bury, but not forget, the bitterness of the past and actively work for a fairer future.

He did so when, upon his release from 27 years in jail, he emerged without exhibiting any signs of anger, reconciling with president F.W. de Klerk (earning them both Nobel peace prizes) and even sipping tea with Betsie Verwoerd, the 94-year-old widow of apartheid’s architect, Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd.

He did so when he became president of the new democratic South Africa in 1994 and set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, pitting perpetrators of apartheid crimes against its victims and their families.

He did so when he went to watch the Springboks team beat the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup in 1995, depicted in the Clint Eastwood film Invictus.

And he did so when, at the age of 81, he paid what was termed “a private visit” to Israel for two days after completing his five-year term as president and handing over the reins to his deputy, Thabo Mbeki, in June, and choosing to fly first to Iran, Syria and Jordan.

The peace overtures of thenprime minister Ehud Barak had paved the way for Mandela – a devout Christian – to make his first and only pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

After taking a jab at the Jewish state for being the only nation not to invite him when he was appointed president, and then refusing several invitations to travel here, Mandela said this trip was aimed at burying the hatchet – or, in his words, “to heal old wounds” both with Israel and South African Jews.

Mandela had an ambivalent, almost love-hate relationship with Jews and Israel. Like Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi before him, his first job had been with a Jewish law firm in Johannesburg, and some of his closest friends, political advisers and business associates were Jewish.

When he needed advice or money, they were the first people he called upon.

Many South African Jews had supported him, but others had openly backed or implicitly endorsed apartheid. One of his close Jewish friends, Arthur Goldreich, provided refuge to Mandela and other ANC leaders at his farm in Rivonia, later made aliya and became a professor at the Bezalel Art School.

On the other hand, Percy Yutar, the chief prosecutor at the infamous Rivonia treason trial at the end of which Mandela was given a life sentence, was Jewish, too.

Mandela resented Israel’s military relationship with apartheid South Africa and passionately supported the PLO, which he saw as a liberation movement similar to his own ANC.

He supported Israel’s right to exist as a democratic Jewish state, yet felt closer to its enemies: the PLO’s Yasser Arafat, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Iran’s Mohammed Khatami and Syria’s Hafez Assad. Nevertheless, he praised his Israeli hosts for their warm reception and peace-making efforts. Mandela received a red-carpet welcome at the King David Hotel, where South African chief rabbi Cyril Harris, together with leaders of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies and Israel’s ambassador to South Africa, Uri Oren, greeted him.

Hugging Harris, a good friend, he quipped: “Now I feel at home – my rabbi is here.”

At a luncheon hosted by president Ezer Weizman and attended by cabinet ministers and other dignitaries, Mandela chose to thank the South African Jewish community. “One of the reasons I am so pleased to be in Israel is as a tribute to the enormous contribution of the Jewish community of South Africa. I am so proud of them,” he said.

After a guided tour of Jerusalem’s Old City and Yad Vashem, he wrote in the Holocaust museum’s visitors’ book: “A painful but enriching experience.”

After an upbeat meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office, he described Ehud Barak as “a man of courage and vision.”

“The people of the world and Israel should support Barak. He has aroused our hopes,” Mandela said. “What has emerged from all my conversations is that the yearning for peace is very intense.”

During the meeting, Mandela was thrilled to see Rabbi Dov Sidelsky, a South African immigrant and the son of Lazar Sidelsky, who had given Mandela his first job as a law clerk.

Whites hiring black professionals was “almost unheard of in those days,” said Mandela, who remembered Dov as a young boy in Johannesburg.

“I have found Jews to be more broad-minded than most whites on issues of race and politics, perhaps because they themselves have historically been victims of prejudice,” he wrote in his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.

In his talks with Levy at the Foreign Ministry, Mandela shared his impression during his visit to Iran that the country had become more “moderate” under then-president Khatami.

He said he had received assurances that the trial of 13 Iranians Jews arrested earlier that year on charges of spying for “the Zionist regime,” which was of great concern then, would be “free and fair.”

Levy protested politely against Mandela’s reading of the situation, telling him that Iran, which backed terrorist groups targeting Jews and the Jewish state, was certainly not giving the 13 Jews a fair hearing.

In July 2000, after a closed trial that violated international legal norms, 10 were given harsh sentences, while three others were acquitted. Levy had been right, Mandela wrong.

Following his visit to Israel, Mandela flew to Gaza, where he enthusiastically embraced Arafat and endorsed Palestinian statehood but made a point of urging Arab acceptance of Israel.

“The Arab leaders must make an unequivocal statement that they recognize the existence of Israel with secure borders,” he stressed.

Mandela was undoubtedly one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century and an iconic symbol of hope and freedom in his beloved South Africa.

While he supported Zionism in principle, he believed that if there was to be peace in the Middle East, Israel must negotiate a two-state solution with the Palestinians and avoid becoming a binational “apartheid state” – or risk becoming an international pariah like apartheid South Africa.

A humble hero, Mandela was the first to acknowledge that he wasn’t always right, but as an advocate of justice for all, he was always ready to stand up and fight for what he believed was right, even when his views were not popular.

During my youth in South Africa, Mandela was portrayed by the “white media” as the enemy, the jailed leader of a terrorist insurrection against the Afrikaner government.

They labelled him “the Black Pimpernel” before he was arrested.

But the seemingly impossible occurred: the Black Pimpernel became the beloved leader of “the Rainbow Nation,” affectionately called “Madiba” (the name of his Xhosa clan) by South Africans of all colors and creeds.

Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

May you rest in peace, Madiba. Shalom!