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Israeli authorities refuse Dutch FM access to Hebron Old City
Published Sunday 08/12/2013 (updated) 08/12/2013 22:17
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Shuttered shops on Shuhada street in Hebron (ISM Hebron)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans' visit to Hebron on Sunday was marred by the refusal of Israeli authorities to allow him to visit the Old City without an Israeli military escort, the Palestinian ambassador to the Netherlands told Ma'an.

Ambassador Nabil Abuznaid told Ma'an in an interview on Sunday that the Dutch minister had planned to visit sections of Hebron's Old City but Israeli authorities imposed conditions on his visit.

When the foreign minister refused these conditions, which the ambassador described as "unprecedented" for visiting dignitaries, he was forced to cancel his visit.

"The occupation (authorities) tried to make some conditions, but he did not accept them," Abuznaid told Ma'an on Sunday.

"We appreciate that he fought for his principles," by refusing to accept the Israeli authorities' condition, he added.

Abuznaid highlighted that by refusing to visit the Old City of Hebron under Israeli escort the Dutch minister made it clear that "he did not want to set a precedent" of only entering escorted by the Israeli military.

"We respect the Dutch and their decisions," which show "their support for human rights and Palestinian rights," he added.

"We are mad at the occupation," for imposing these conditions, Abuznaid stressed, "as we the hosts cannot even receive a special guest in our homes."

Expressing his frustration with the Israeli-imposed restrictions, the ambassador lamented, "We cannot show him our own city and our suffering."

The Dutch foreign minister was able to visit sites outside of the Old City in Hebron, including a meeting with the Temporary International Presence in Hebron, a civilian observer mission based in the city.

But the Israeli authorities' refusal to allow the Dutch leader to visit the Old City with a Palestinian escort meant he was unable to see the areas that witness some of the highest incidences of Israeli settler violence against Palestinian civilians.

Hebron is a frequent site of clashes due to the presence of 500 Israeli settlers in the heart of the Palestinian Old City, many of whom have illegally occupied Palestinian houses and forcibly removed the original inhabitants. They are protected by thousands of Israeli forces.

A 1997 agreement split Hebron into areas of Palestinian and Israeli control.

The Israeli military-controlled H2 zone includes the ancient Old City, home of the revered Ibrahimi Mosque -- also split into a synagogue referred to as the Tomb of the Patriarchs -- and the once thriving Shuhada street, now just shuttered shop fronts and closed homes.

More than 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

Article has been edited to reflect the fact that the Foreign Minister was unable to visit, not the Prime Minister as was initially reported.
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1 ) maisie / UK
08/12/2013 13:51
Is this Israel redefining "charm offensive"?

2 ) Justice & Only Justice / Palestine
08/12/2013 14:37
Dutch FM could easily put pressure on Israelis in order to visit the Old City in Hebron or any part in Palestine. The Dutch FM reaction on this matter is very poor and shy. We, Palestinians, must remember that the Dutch regime like other EU's-regimes still support the Nazi-Zionist-Israel and is unable to take any tiny decision.

3 ) @ the Editor & Justice-2 / Maan Vs Truth
08/12/2013 15:42
* If you can not STOP THE title LIES, then you should stop the story !! There are Standards of Journalism, to Maan News Infrequently adheres, where, Maan writes "Israeli authorities refuse Dutch FM access", while the Truth is that "ISRAELI AUTHORITIES" allowed access, and REQUIRED A "MILITARY ESCORT" FOR the Dutch fm's SAFETY. 2- Dutch FM was advised not to risk being stoned or abducted, and decided that "putting pressure" would be FOOLISHLY RISKING HIS LIFE.

4 ) joop jansen / the Netherlands
08/12/2013 17:45
We activists for Free Palestine are deeply ashamed of the visit to Israel to renew trade ties with apartheid Israel! PM Rutte, FM Frans Timmermans and 65 Dutch companies! come home immediately and sort out the mess in your own country! You don't do business with the zionist war criminals, it is not done!

5 ) Rules / Regulations
08/12/2013 17:50
Very good - he can stay home. If he wants to visit Israel and cities under Israeli control - he should comply with Israeli laws and regulations. If he does not want to comply - he stays home and everybody is happy.

6 ) Cpt.Cannabis / Israel
08/12/2013 18:44
@#3: stoned or abducted by settlers

7 ) Johnny benson / USA
08/12/2013 19:50
Maan editors....kudos for allowing @3 post correcting your mistakes...at least you show some fairness.

8 ) Mel / USA
08/12/2013 20:28
I'd imagine that Israeli military Brig.Comms,&Dutch MP's'know full well that the ONLY threat in Hebron,to Holland's FM,is from rabid occupying Zionists &their RAVSHATZ children who're taught to attack Arab civilians & are rewarded for it.Palestinians welcome anyone with the moral balls to say no to deals with Nazionism.Don't dive into the Zionist RUT,Rutte,it's BLOOD MONEY!Make your moral,ethical CHOICE.

9 ) Antoon van Die / Israel
08/12/2013 21:53
Het Oslo accoord geeft de Palestijnen het recht om een gedeelte van Hebron te kontroleren maar Israel als een bezettende macht heeft de plicht om iedereen te beschermen zolang er geen Palestijnse staat is .Dus zeker Ministers, De Minister van B.Z. weet dat ,dus hij was uit op een confrontatie. Zoals we gehoord hebben wil hij graag v.z worden van EU comisie van B.Z. Catrine Aston. Dat is alles geen, aandacht aanschenken dat is het beste.

10 ) Common / Sense
10/12/2013 03:57
I second #5). Why did the Dutch FM want to visit Israel in the first place? To blame Israel for anything and everything under the sun? Why can't he stay home and debate Geert Wilders of the Partij voor de Vrijheid (Party for Freedom) that wants nothing Islamic-related on the Dutch soil, seeing daily the extent of the damage Muslims and the Quran have done to that once beautiful and free country...

11 ) Liesel [fr] / NL
10/12/2013 05:32
Hebron est eineh judische stoadt -- doat ess voah Avraham,Sara, Yitzack, Rifkah und Jacov begroeft sendt.

12 ) Eugene Kent / USA
28/12/2013 02:30
cCnfrontation only discredits the person.
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