An Israeli company that builds infrastructure for the Israeli occupation in the West Bank, and whose Israeli arm is led by a former general implicated in war crimes, has set up an electric taxi service station at Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport with the support of the Dutch government and the European Union.
The Israeli business website Globes reports:
Better Place Inc. today launched an electric taxi project at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. The Dutch electric taxi project is the first green venture financed by the EU’s Ten-T decarbonization infrastructure program.
Better Place built the battery replacement station at Schiphol Airport that will initially serve 10 Renault Fluence ZE electric taxis operated by three leading Dutch taxi companies. Better Place added that it will build a second battery replacement station in Amsterdam to increase the range of the taxi service for the first group of electric cabs.
The Israeli ambassador to The Netherlands welcomed the project, and Better Place CEO Shai Agassi said, “We’re grateful for the support of the European Commission, the Dutch and Danish governments, Schiphol, Renault, and all of our partners in making this project happen in less than 18 months.”
As The Electronic Intifada revealed exclusively in 2010, Better Place is establishing a network of charging spots on settler roads and in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The firm is at the forefront of efforts to “greenwash” Israel and has been promoted by the Israeli government as part of its international effort to change Israel’s image. The goal is to market Israel as a pioneer in environmental technologies and distract from its occupation and violations of Palestinian rights.
The firm is also backed by Israeli oil tycoon Idan Ofer.
Leadership involved in war crimes
As EI also reported in 2010 the chief executive of Better Place’s Israeli division:
is former general Moshe Kaplinsky, who commanded Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank during the second Palestinian intifada, a period of massive, well-documented violations of Palestinian human rights. Kaplinsky was also deputy chief of staff of Israel’s army during its 2006 war on Lebanon when Amnesty International and other human rights groups charged that Israel committed numerous war crimes including widespread use of cluster bombs in residential areas.
See also Kaplinsky’s profile on the Better Place website. On its website, Better Place also notes that, “Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert were prime forces behind the signing of [a deal between Better Place and Renault-Nissan], having backed Better Place founder Shai Agassi’s vision for many years.”
Dutch government promotion
Last year Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen visited Better Place’s Israeli headquarters as part of a visit in which he pledged closer ties between the Netherlands and Israel despite Israel’s continued open flouting of international law with regard to settlements, occupation and human rights.
Verhagen today presided over the official ribbon cutting ceremony launching the taxi project at Schipol. The ceremony was also attended by Helmut Morsi of the European Commission Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport.
There can be no clearer statement of EU The Netherlands’ official endorsement of, and complicity in Israeli occupation and human rights abuses.