I came back after a visit to the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Tel Aviv. We went with eight Dutch citizens, to present a petition, signed by twenty-six Dutch nationals, who are working in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel, most of them with humanitarian and human rights organizations, to pressure the Dutch government to end the humanitarian disaster in Palestine.
In the petition, we expressed our grave concerns about various war crimes and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, such as the obstruction of medical treatment of wounded Palestinians, attacks on ambulances and arrests of medical personnel, the deliberate denial of access to medicines, the deliberate restrictions on evacuating and burial of killed Palestinians and the deliberate use of Palestinians as human shields.
Moreover, we expressed our concerns about the Israeli restrictions on press freedom and the deliberate restrictions placed on local and international journalists, including Dutch correspondents, to perform their jobs.
One of our delegation said: “This is cry for help from persons, who have first-hand experience and knowledge of what is in fact happening on the ground, and who know how severe the situation is” and someone else added, “anyone with a conscience cannot keep watching without action. We feel ashamed about the absence of concrete measures being taken by the international community.”
Responding to Dutch ambassador, Herman Froger, who raised the question, what steps could be taken by the Netherlands and the European Union, we stressed again that the Netherlands and the European Union have the legal obligation to immediately impose an arms embargo and suspend the Association Agreement with Israel.
The ambassador received the petition and promised to hand it over to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. After this weekend, a similar petition will be presented to the government in the Netherlands.
Last night, I called my cousin, Ghadir, she lives in Ramallah. She is locked up in her appartment with her flatmate. They don’t have any water. She explained to me what it means being without water. Just imagine, that you don’t have water and you need to go to the bathroom, cook, wash, and drink. Imagine being without water for two days. They tried to reach a supermarket across the street, but when they opened the front door and peaked out to cross the street, they heard an Israeli tank and an armored personnel carrier approaching, so they went back to the appartment, still without water.
“Arjan, you cannot imagine our situation,” she said, adding: “Tell the ambassador about our bathroom.” Her parents, brothers and sister, are in Nablus, which has also been occupied by Israeli tanks, armored personnel carriers, soldiers, with American supplied Israeli Apache attack helicopters flying over the city, attacking civilian homes and residential buildings.
Yesterday, I heard that a building was destroyed in an area where I lived between 1996 and 1998. The area is called Ras al-Ain and watches over the old city of Nablus. I heard familiar names of buildings that have been entered and occupied by Israeli soldiers and snipers. I cannot believe that Israel is allowed to continue these war crimes and wanton killings with impunity.
Just now, an armored personnel carrier is placed across our office.