Dutch PM slams Israel’s dismantling of West Bank solar project his government funded


AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Holland’s prime minister complained to his Israeli counterpart about Israel dismantling solar panels — paid for by the Dutch government — set up without permission in a Palestinian village in the West Bank.

Mark Rutte protested the move to Benjamin Netanyahu last week, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders told the parliament on Tuesday, shortly after the solar panels were dismantled in Jubbet adh Dhib. The panels cost approximately $600,000.

The Netherlands finds the move by Israel “unacceptable,” said Koenders, who was answering a query on the issue by a lawmaker from the left-wing D66 party, the Nederlandse Dagblad daily reported.

Israel began cracking down on illegal construction in Area C of the West Bank approximately two years ago, focusing on structures constructed there without authorization by the European Union, its member states or funding from Europe. In 2015, the European Commission published regulations requiring retailers to apply separate labels to products from what the European Union regards as illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

Area C is one of three categories of territory in the West Bank, and the only one where Israel is responsible for all security issues. The area comprises virtually all Israeli settlements and most of the West Bank’s territory, but only 10 percent of its Palestinian population.

Solar panels were installed at Jubbet adh Dhib because the village is not connected to the electricity grid, even though it is Israel’s duty to provide Palestinians in Area C with adequate infrastructure, Koenders told the parliament.

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