The Netherlands is the only EU country to refuse to approve an EU report on the violence used by Israeli settlers against local Palestinians, the NRC reports on Wednesday.
The paper says the Dutch position is extremely unusual and has worried a number of other EU countries.
The secret report, drawn up by EU diplomats in Jerusalen and Ramallah in February 2012, talks of the ‘alarming’ increase in the use of violence by settlers and points out that the settlements are illegal under international law.
However, at the bottom of the document is the phrase: ‘NL places a general reserve on the document’, the paper states.
Diplomats told the paper that all 21 EU representatives support the criticism of Israel’s position. ‘We are witnessing the toughest position the Netherlands has ever adopted,’ one EU diplomat told the NRC.
Website EUobserver, which has seen the report, says there were 411 assaults last year compared to 266 in 2010 and 132 in 2009.
‘The attacks varied from gunfire to throwing stones and garbage, including at Palestinian schoolchildren, as well as burning homes and mosques, killing livestock and uprooting olive trees,’ the website states.
This is not the first time foreign minister Uri Rosenthal has stood up for Israel in international circles. Last September, for example, Rosenthal reportedly managed to stop European diplomats at the UN reaching a common position on the status of human rights in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.