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May 18, 2022 3:34 pm
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Dutch Foreign Ministry Denies Sponsoring Public Meeting Advocating Prosecution of Israel by ICC

avatar by Ben Cohen

Dutch foreign minister Wopke Hoekstra. Photo: Reuters/Xander Heinl

The foreign ministry of the Netherlands has flatly denied that it is sponsoring a public meeting in The Hague on Monday pushing for alleged Israeli war crimes to be tried at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not involved in this event,” a spokesperson for the foreign ministry told the Dutch Jewish news outlet NIW.  “It has been reported that the ministry is financially supporting the event, but that is not correct. That will be rectified: the reference to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be deleted.”

The May 23 event, titled “Palestine and the ICC Paralysis: Is Justice Still Possible for Palestinians?”, features Roger Waters, the former Pink Floyd vocalist and ardent anti-Zionist, and Shawan Jabareen, the executive director of Al Haq, a Palestinian NGO with alleged links to the terrorist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), among several speakers.

Initial publicity for the meeting stated that the Dutch foreign ministry was a sponsor alongside various pro-Palestinian NGOs, resulting in anger among pro-Israel advocates — as well as a series of parliamentary questions to Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra from the opposition PVV and Christian Union parties. However, according to NIW, none of the activists verified whether the claim was true. An inquiry by one of its journalists eventually resulted in the foreign ministry’s statement on Wednesday.

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Controversy still stalks Monday’s meeting despite the foreign ministry’s clarification, with some pro-Israel members of parliament questioning why Al Haq, an organization affiliated with the PFLP, should be permitted to participate in a meeting in a member state of the EU, which has listed the Popular Front as a terrorist entity.

Other observers pointed out that, earlier this month, Hoekstra had explicitly rejected an Amnesty International report that caricatured Israel as an apartheid state — telling cabinet colleagues that the Dutch government “does not agree with Amnesty’s conclusion that there is apartheid in Israel or the territories occupied by Israel … In light of the above, the cabinet also rejects the recommendations made by Amnesty in the report.”

Hoekstra was on an official visit to Israel on Wednesday, meeting in Jerusalem with his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid to discuss developments in the region as well as the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “I conveyed the Dutch concerns about the current tensions in both the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem,” Hoekstra tweeted after the parley, adding: “We were horrified by the recent terrorist attacks in Israel.”

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