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Dutch try and fail to stop export of dogs to Israel

Dutch legislators attempt ban on sale of dogs to Israel, claiming the IDF uses them as 'weapons.' Effort stymied by EU regulations.

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Matt Wanderman,

IDF's Oketz K9 unit (illustration)
IDF's Oketz K9 unit (illustration)
Flash 90

The government in the Netherlands attempted to ban the export of dogs to Israel, claiming that the IDF uses them as "weapons," but was unable to find a legal means to do so.

EU Observer reports that Minister for Foreign Trade Lilianne Ploumen investigated the possibility through the European Commission and other supervisory organizations.

EU countries can only restrict exports in certain cases, and such cases are typically decided by the EU as a whole. Ploumen had suggested to the European Commission that service dogs could fall under the dual-use regulation, which deal with objects that have both civilian and military uses. This is the same classification under which Gazans are sometimes prevented from importing cement and other building materials.

The Commission responded that the dogs do not qualify because they always have civilian uses, even when serving in the military.

Plouman also tried to use the Working Party on Conventional Arms Export, a European forum focusing on the export of weapons to non-EU countries, to advance her cause, but her proposal was voted down.

The Dutch controversy over the IDF's use of dogs has been growing since last October, when the NRC Handelsblad claimed that the IDF uses dogs from Holland, some of whom have bitten Palestinians.