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      Dutch Ambassador Summoned Over Divestiture

      Foreign Ministry summons Caspar Veldkamp, demanding clear opposition by Holland's government to recent divestment move.
      By Ari Yashar
      First Publish: 1/10/2014, 11:05 AM

      Dutch Ambassador to Israel Caspar Veldkamp
      Dutch Ambassador to Israel Caspar Veldkamp
      Flash 90

      The Foreign Ministry summoned Dutch Ambassador Caspar Veldkamp on Friday to clarify his country's position on the recently declared divestment from Israeli banks by a major Dutch firm. The Ministry said it expected a strong stance against the decision by Holland.

      The firm, PGGM, is one of Holland's largest asset managers. On Wednesday the company announced it was divesting from five Israeli banks because they finance "Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories," referring to communities in Judea and Samaria.

      Rafi Schutz, the Foreign Ministry's deputy director-general of Europe, told Veldkamp that PGGM's decision is unacceptable and relies on empty claims.

      "We expect the government of Holland, in the spirit of friendly relations between Holland and Israel, to express a clear position against steps like these, that only harm the relations between the countries," emphasized Schutz.

      PGGM, which manages around 153 billion euros ($208 billion) in funds, announced it's divestiture from the Israeli banks due to "their involvement in financing Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories [sic]."

      The divestment follows a similar boycott by Holland's largest water company, Vitens, against its Israeli counterpart Mekorot. In early December the Dutch company declared it was cutting ties with Mekorot due to the company's presence over the 1949 Armistice lines.

      Not long thereafter Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte denounced Vitens's discriminatory move, saying it was not in accordance with Dutch policy and would not be implemented.