‘Dutch’ Foreign Minister Rosenthal Blocks EU Position on Human Rights

(Der Spiegel) – Rosenthal instructed his diplomats in Geneva to strike a number of formulations from the statement, among them numerous references to a “two-state solution” — that is, the foundation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. The foreign minister also didn’t want any mention of Israel’s arrests of peacefully demonstrating human rights activists or their destruction of homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem that forced the affected Palestinians to resettle elsewhere.

And this despite the fact that a report for the UN Human Rights Council confirms that the Israeli government has increased orders for the destruction of homes since the beginning of the year. According to the report, some 387 buildings have been destroyed since January, among them 140 residential buildings, turning out 755 Palestinians. Furthermore, more Palestinians have been displaced in the first half of 2011 than all of last year, the report adds.

The changes from The Hague were not well-received by the other European diplomats. Though some had been prepared to negotiate individual questions such as the Israeli arrests of demonstrators, the refusal to acknowledge a need for a two-state solution — already a key European position for years — went too far.  

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

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