Dutch municipalities refuse visit by Israelis
The Dutch association of municipalities (VNG) said Sunday it had cancelled a visit to the Netherlands by a group of Israeli community leaders because seveal members were from the West Bank.
"The West Bank is not officially a part of Israel. And, negotiations are underway between Israelis and Palestinians about the West Bank. The VNG does not want to give the impression of favouring on side over the other by organising this visit," VNG's spokesman Arjen Konijnenberg said.
The association said it had consulted the Dutch foreign ministry before making a decision, but that the choice was made wholly by them.
Around 25 heads of small and medium-sized Israeli municipalities were due to visit the Netherlands, according to Israel's association of local governments.
The president of the association, Shlomo Buhbut said in a statement he regretted the cancellation of the trip, adding that the decision "harms the chances of furthering peace" in the Middle East.
© 2010 AFP