by Lydia de Leeuw (SOMO) and Gerard Jonkman (The Rights Forum)
Dutch Prime Minister Rutte visited Israel and the Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank on 24 and 25 October. Looking at his programme for those two days, we may conclude; the Dutch government encourages investment in war crimes.
Israel has been building illegal settlements in the Palestinian West Bank (including East Jerusalem) for decades. Settlements are villages and towns accessible only to Jewish Israeli settlers, built in occupied territory and often on land from which Palestinians have been expelled by the Israeli army. Both the expulsion of a civilian population and the transfer of one’s own population (by the occupier) into occupied territory are considered as war crimes. Since 2020, the UN has kept a list of Israeli and international companies that trade with settlements, thus contributing to these crimes.
As a government, complicity of Dutch companies in these crimes is not something you want to encourage or facilitate, right?
During his visit, Rutte met with Israeli companies doing business with the Netherlands, including Solaredge, Netafim and Israel Chemicals. According to the independent Israeli research organisation Who Profits, Solaredge provides technology for solar energy in settlements and Netafim provides settlements with irrigation systems. For the supply of fertiliser, settlement farmers can rely on Israel Chemicals, according to Who Profits.
Foreign Affairs says it is “not in favour” of doing business in settlements, but that the companies were selected for a networking meeting because of “their value for the Dutch economy.”
Read the full blog on our Dutch website
A short version of of this blog was published in Dutch newspaper Trouw