Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Israel chides Dutch over human rights group


"The Israeli embassy in The Hague submitted a formal complaint against the Dutch government over its financing of a human rights group, reports Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
The group, Breaking the Silence, allows members of Israel’s armed forces to give anonymous testimony about their wartime experiences. It recently published a controversial report which alleged that Israeli military personnel had committed war crimes during the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip. After the report was released, the names of the organisation’s financial backers, including the British and Dutch embassies in Israel, were made public in various Israeli media.

Dutch foreign minister Maxime Verhagen was not aware of the subsidy paid to Breaking the Silence, because the amount in question was EUR 5.00 under the relevant limit, according to Haaretz. The Dutch embassy in Tel Aviv gave the organisation a total of EUR 19,995. If the subsidy were EUR 5.00 more, it would have required government approval in The Hague. The Dutch foreign ministry has yet to respond to the Israeli claims."

This is a lovely bit of news. Despite the official foregin policy (namely to appease anything Israel does) some people down in Tel Aviv are actually being idealistic and consciencous. Lovely... Could the great blackmail of the last 50 years be brought to an end? I don't think so: Even the way this newspaper clipping is written ("alleged") shows how careful the wording must be. I expect Verhagen to plead innocent very soon.

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