AMSTERDAM (Jul. 27)
The Dutch Foreign Ministry has issued a warning to travel agencies organizing tours to Israel saying that due to the intifada, Dutch tourists should not visit the administered territories or East Jerusalem.
The warning followed an advisory by the Dutch Embassy in Tel Aviv, which stated that Dutch tourists could be safe only inside pre-1967 Israeli borders.
The warning suggested that tourists who decide to visit East Jerusalem should not do so after sunset or by themselves, adding that on Fridays tourists should first inquire with the tourist police near Jaffa Gate about the situation on that day.
Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek has protested the East Jerusalem warning, saying there has not been a noticeable increase in deaths there since the beginning of the Palestinian uprising.
Apparently, the Dutch Embassy issued its statement nearly three months ago, but it was not made public until it was leaked in the daily “De Telegraaf” on Wednesday.
So far, no Dutch tourist has been killed or wounded in Israel or the administered territories since the start of the intifada.
One Dutch citizen was killed and 18 wounded, however, in the overturning of an Egyptian tourist bus Sunday in the Sinai desert near Ismailia. The mishap has been ruled an accident caused by the careless driving of the Egyptian driver.
The general association of tourist agencies in Holland, ANVR, has said that it acknowledges the warning, but in its view tourists can visit Israel safely.