Monday, September 20, 2010

Arash's World: The Burden of Empirical Science in the Modern World

Arash's World: The Burden of Empirical Science in the Modern World

Israeli mayors not welcome in the Netherlands

Thirty Israeli mayors who were due to visit the Netherlands have been told they are not welcome, because some of them come from controversial Jewish settlements in the occupied territories on the West Bank.
"The visit by mayors of settlements like Har Adar and Kiryat Arba is extremely sensitive," says Ralph Pans managing director of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG), which helped organise the trip. Mr Pans says the association did not want to take sides in the Middle East conflict by organising a trip in which mayors from Israeli settlements took part.
He also said it was strange that the Israelis hadn’t informed the association who was coming. It was only later that the VNG learnt from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs that six mayors from settlements were in the delegation.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry has expressed its disappointment. In a declaration it said it was wrong to allow irrelevant political considerations to stop the trip. According to the ministry this undermines direct dialogue between local governments, reports, the English-language website of Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronot.

One of the mayors due to visit was Oded Revivi from the Efrat settlement. Mr Revivi says by calling the visit off the Netherlands is trying to draw the borders of Israel, and called this improper interference.
The row does not appear to have damaged the generally good relationship between the Netherlands and Israel. Spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry Yossi Levy says the Netherlands remains “a true friend of Israel”.
In the meantime, the Netherlands host Hamas leaders for years...

Day Opening - September 20

Main street in Tarabya, Istanbul, Turkey. By Brian Underdown.