Amsterdam Drops Plan to Twin with Tel Aviv

Amsterdam Mayor withdraws plans to twin his city and Tel Aviv due to pressure from other parties over Israeli "occupation".

Elad Benari ,

Tel Aviv skyline
Tel Aviv skyline
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Plans to set up a formal twinning agreement between Amsterdam and Tel Aviv have been dropped because some members of the city council oppose the idea, the English-language website Dutch News reported Thursday.

According to the report, Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan withdrew the plan due to pressure from the left-wing green party GroenLinks, the Labour party and the Socialists, who said they would not support the twinning program.

The mayor was also under pressure from a number of other pro-Palestinian Arab organizations, which claimed the move is inappropriate because of Israel’s “occupation” of Judea and Samaria.

There should be no twin city deal “as long as Israel occupies Palestine, structurally infringes human rights and continues its settlement policy,” Rutger Groot Wassink, leader of the green party GroenLinks, was quoted by Dutch News as having said.

Van der Laan now plans to visit both Tel Aviv and Ramallah to see if the city councils can work together instead, according to the report.

Two years ago, Vitens, a Dutch water company, decided to cut ties with its Israeli counterpart Mekorot, claiming it had come to the conclusion that it was "extremely hard" to work with Mekorot on future projects "because they cannot be taken out of the political context."

Israel’s Foreign Ministry subsequently filed a formal complaint with the Dutch ambassador to Israel over the Vitens boycott.

Later, however, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte rejected the water company’s boycott of its Israeli counterpart.