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Sep 19, 2019
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Former Dutch Diplomat Nikolaos van Dam: Dutch Parliament Refuses to Boycott Israel's Human Rights Violations, We Should Support BDS as Non-Governmental Alternative

#7519 | 03:15
Source: Palestinian Authority TV

Dutch scholar Nikolaos van Dam, who has previously served as the Dutch Ambassador to Iraq, Egypt, Germany, and Indonesia, said in a September 19, 2019 interview on Palestine TV (Palestinian Authority) that since Israel violates human rights on a daily basis, the European Union should freeze economic agreements it has with Israel that are contingent upon respect of human rights. Van Dam said that the Dutch parliament does not want to impose sanctions on Israel and that BDS is a non-governmental alternative for boycotting Israel that will eventually gain momentum, even though he said the movement is not currently strong in the Netherlands.

Following are excerpts:

 

Nikolaos van Dam: There is an Israeli-European agreement regarding the European Union. It is an economic agreement. This agreement gives Israel a few things that [Israelis] benefit from. For example, if they export…

Interviewer: Without paying customs…

Nikolaos van Dam: Right, without customs, or with a low rate, and so forth… But the second article in this agreement says that everything – the entire agreement – is contingent upon the respect of human rights. Since Israel violates human rights on a daily basis…

Interviewer: It also steals Palestinian land…

Nikolaos van Dam: This means that sanctions must be imposed immediately. For example, we must freeze this agreement, but…

Interviewer: What tools are necessary to freeze or cancel this agreement?

Nikolaos van Dam: Only a political decision. However, for example… There was a debate in our report – in [our] suggestion to the Dutch parliament – and the majority refuses to impose sanctions. This is a simple thing. We have principles, but we do not practice them. There is no need for a new official policy – we just need to implement what we have already said is our policy. This is the problem.

 

[…]

 

This new situation has not been translated into a new policy. This is the problem.

Interviewer: How could this be done?

Nikolaos van Dam: I don't think there are many options, since the government does whatever it wants. However, there is another way. You are certainly familiar with BDS – boycott, divestment, and sanctions…

Interviewer: How significant is the Dutch solidarity with the Palestinian issue,  and how significant are the boycott actions, such as boycotting products that are made in the settlements?

Nikolaos van Dam: So far, it is weak, but if the government keeps its policy and continues to implement it like it is today, there will be no way other than non-governmental ways. BDS is one of those ways. It is an option, and this policy will gradually gain momentum.

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