Dutch government teams up with Israeli settlement profiteer

Signs promoting Dutch food month, “in partnership with the Netherlands embassy” at a Shufersal store in Gilo, an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, 12 November.

The Netherlands embassy in Tel Aviv is partnering with an Israeli settlement profiteer.

This flies in the face of the Dutch government’s stated opposition to Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian land in violation of international law.

Last week the Dutch embassy posted this photo on Twitter showing Ambassador Gilles Beschoor Plug posing with the CEO of supermarket chain Shufersal as they launch Dutch food month.

Behind them are displays promoting Dutch products and a sign that says “in cooperation with the Netherlands embassy.” Shufersal is also boasting of the Dutch government sponsorship on its Facebook page.

The Electronic Intifada has confirmed that the Dutch-sponsored promotion is taking place in Shufersal stores located in settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Photos taken by an Israeli citizen at a Shufersal store at 17 Tzvia ve Yitzhak Street in the Gilo settlement on Sunday show the signs promoting the Dutch goods and confirming embassy sponsorship.

The Dutch brands being promoted in the settlement store include Calvé, Gouda’s Glorie, Vos Banket, Merba, De Ruijter, Buiteman, Jeurgens and Daelmans, which makes stroopwafels, a syrup-filled cookie that has been aggressively marketed in the US in recent years.

Dutch hypocrisy

According to recent media reports, Shufersal is one of more than 100 firms likely to appear on a UN list of companies doing business in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, all of which are illegal under international law.

Palestinians have hailed the list, whose creation was mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, as the first concrete step to hold Israel accountable for its settler-colonization of the occupied West Bank, which Israel has carried on for decades with impunity.

Last month, the Netherlands was one of several European governments to condemn Israel’s recent announcement of a further massive expansion of settlements.

“This decision raises the question of what kind of peace Israel envisions,” Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders said. “Effectively expanding illegal settlements is completely irreconcilable with the two-state solution.”

The Dutch government also endorsed a statement made by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini reiterating that “all settlement activity is illegal under international law.”

Profiting from crimes

But in the now familiar fashion of the EU and its members, the Netherlands completely contradicts its stated position against settlements by actions that demonstrate complicity with, if not outright support for, Israel’s crimes.

The Dutch foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

The Dutch government’s partnership with Shufersal is identical to the one France held with the settlement profiteer last year.

Although France also claims to oppose Israeli settlements, the French government – like the Dutch – was content to boost Shufersal’s income from illegal settlements just as long as its companies received a cut of the profits.

In a shocking sign of the EU’s willingness to put profit before its much touted “values,” the EU embassy in Tel Aviv last summer hired Avishai Ivri, an Israeli who advocates the genocide of the Palestinians, to star in a video promoting trade with European states.

There is a growing consensus among international jurists and human rights organizations that business and trade in and with Israeli settlements must be ended because it sustains Israel’s occupation and illegal colonization and enables serious crimes against Palestinians.

European officials barred

In a further sign that Israel takes EU support for granted, Israel’s interior ministry announced Monday that it was barring entry to seven European officials who are scheduled to be part of a delegation made up of European Parliament members and French mayors.

Israel’s public security minister Gilad Erdan, who is tasked with thwarting the global movement for Palestinian rights, called the banned officials “senior politicians who consistently support the boycott against Israel and promote it.”

In response, Sharon Abraham-Weiss, director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, called the interior ministry “a commissar standing at the gate and deciding for the country’s citizens and for the residents of the occupied territories, who are dependent on Israeli border crossings, which positions are appropriate to be heard.”

Meanwhile, for the Dutch government, it’s business as usual.

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The Palestina Kommittee which steers the Dutch BDS is looking at the matter and protests will follow

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