BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- PLO official Hanan Ashrawi on Monday praised the Dutch firm Vitens after it decided last week to end its partnership with Israeli water company Mekorot.
"Vitens should be praised for turning its principled position into positive action," Ashrawi said in a statement.
Last week, Vitens said it had come to the conclusion that it was "extremely hard" to work with Mekorot on future projects "because they cannot be taken out of the political context."
Israeli deputy Foreign minister Zeev Elkin said he was "blindsided" by the pullout "and a few more European companies have made similar decisions in the past months, which have blindsided us exactly in parallel with the peace process.”
Ashrawi said Vitens' decision was "necessary and moral" and a significant step.
"I also commend the Dutch government for its clear official policy on discouraging economic links with the illegal Israeli settlement enterprise, which is in line with domestic, European and international law."
The PLO official also welcomed recent guidelines published by the United Kingdom's Department of Trade and Industry which warned businesses about the risks of economic links to Israeli settlements.
"We hope that the British government will now follow in a similar vein to the Dutch government, by advising British companies to end cooperation with settlements," she said.
"Such steps demonstrate integrity and respect for international law. They distinguish Israel from its illegal activities over the Green Line and therefore help to realize the two-state solution, which the international community endorses, and in which it has invested heavily."
In November, Palestinian rights group Al-Haq called
on EU member states to take tougher measures to ensure that public and private national bodies do not provide support to violent settler groups in the occupied West Bank.
A legal adviser from the group told Ma'an that EU states should investigate individuals or groups which provide support to violent settler groups or settlements as they could be held liable for "committing offenses under their domestic laws on organized crime and financing of acts of terror."
EU guidelines prohibiting financial cooperation with Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are due to take effect on Jan. 1.
The guidelines, issued in July, raised a storm in Israel and were denounced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as "an external diktat about our borders."