Tuesday 04 October 2022

Security scanner row disrupts Dutch prime minister’s Israel visit

The Netherlands and Israel are embroiled in a dispute over a security scanner at the Gaza border, Israeli paper Haaretz reported on Sunday.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte cancelled a gala ceremony to inaugurate the scanner, which was paid for by the Netherlands because Israel refuses `to allow the scanner to be used for goods moving from Gaza to the West Bank and from the West Bank to Gaza.

The high-tech machine was supposed to offer a solution to Israel’s security concerns about exports from Gaza, Haaretz said.

Agenda

But Israel’s refusal to use it for Gazan exports has angered the Netherlands, prompting a change in the high-profile visit’s programme. The Netherlands finds the Israeli position ‘irritating’, a spokesman told the Volkskrant.

The issue is expected to be raised during talks between Rutte and Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu during talks in Tel Aviv later on Sunday.

Foreign minister Frans Timmermans also became involved in a row during the visit, news agency ANP said.

He was due to visit the town of Hebron in the Palestinian territories on Sunday morning but refused to accept an escort of Israeli soldiers. Timmermans said German and Norwegian visitors had not had an Israeli army escort during previous visits.

Rutte and Timmermans are leading a 70-strong Dutch trade mission to the Palestinian territories and Israel. The visit will last three days.

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