Middle East policy is clear: foreign affairs minister

The government’s policy on discouraging Dutch companies from investing in Israel is perfectly clear, foreign affairs minister Frans Timmermans said on Tuesday.

‘I have not come across any company which finds the policy unclear,’ he told parliament while answering questions on the decision by pension fund manager PGGM to cut its Israeli investments.

PGGM announced last week it has stopped investing in five Israeli banks because they are financing Jewish settlements and have branches in the West Bank.

According to fundamentalist Christian SGP party leader Kees van der Staaij, the pull-out is a result of a ‘boycott atmosphere’ when it comes to Israel.

Timmermans denies this. Dutch companies are discouraged from investing, directly or indirectly, in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, a policy which has been in place since 2006. Whether companies invest or not is up to them, he told MPs.

The minister accused his critics of creating confusion for political reasons.

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