A Dutch lawmaker is calling on Israel to continue building Jewish-only colonies in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, including eastern Jerusalem, in violation of international law.
Raymond de Roon, a member of Geert Wilders’ extreme anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian Freedom Party – known by its Dutch initials PVV – tweeted: “Today I ask Netanyahu in parliament for Israel to continue building in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria as long as Palestinians hinder peace.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been visiting the Netherlands, cementing close relations with that country’s government which has emerged as one of the most anti-Palestinian in Europe.
The PVV, although not a member of the governing coalition, lends its support to the government through a formal agreement.
While officially, the Netherlands opposes Israel’s settlements, Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal, and Deputy Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen have worked actively to strengthen the Dutch relationship with Israel, effectively shielding the latter from any accountability or consequences for its crimes.
During Netanyahu’s visit, Verhagen announced that the Netherlands planned to send an economic mission to Israel to deepen trade ties.
Colonization is war crime
Israel’s settlement construction in the occupied West Bank – what Israel calls “Judea and Samaria” – is universally condemned as illegal under international law. In particular, it violates the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention which protects civilians in occupied territories. Article 49 of the Convention States:
Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.
Israel’s settlement program has often involved the forced removal or exclusion of Palestinians from their lands, as territory is seized for Jewish-only settlements.
The UN Security Council has affirmed the criminality of Israel’s settlement enterprise on numerous occasions. Resolution 465 of 1980 for example begins by:
Affirming once more that the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 is applicable to the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem,
Deploring the decision of the Government of Israel to officially support Israeli settlement in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967,
Deeply concerned over the practices of the Israeli authorities in implementing that settlement policy in the occupied Arab territories, including Jerusalem, and its consequences for the local Arab and Palestinian population,
- Determines that all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal validity and that Israel’s policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in those territories constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East;
- Strongly deplores the continuation and persistence of Israel in pursuing those policies and practices and calls upon the Government and people of Israel to rescind those measures, to dismantle the existing settlements and in particular to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction and planning of settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem;
- Calls upon all States not to provide Israel with any assistance to be used specifically in connexion with settlements in the occupied territories;
In 2004, the International Court of Justice in The Hague reaffirmed that Israel’s settlements and its separation wall in the West Bank are illegal and countries should act to prevent and reverse them.
Despite this and many other clear resolutions, Israel has continued to get away with what amount to war crimes thanks to the indulgence and complicity of governments like the Netherlands.
(occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 19.01.2012)