Gretta's Middle East tour in tatters
23 June 2003 , AMSTERDAM — Gretta Duisenberg's latest trip to the Middle East was in tatters on Monday after Israel refused entry to two Dutch doctors who were accompanying the Dutch woman on a planned fact finding mission to the Palestinian territories.
23 June 2003
AMSTERDAM — Gretta Duisenberg's latest trip to the Middle East was in tatters on Monday after Israel refused entry to two Dutch doctors who were accompanying the Dutch woman on a planned fact finding mission to the Palestinian territories.
Duisenberg, wife of European Central Bank President Wim Duisenberg, is a member of the organisation "Stop the Occupation" was allowed entry into Israel. Her trip is designed to draw attention to the medical conditions and living standards of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.
It is not yet certain why the two Dutch doctors were refused entry, but it is believed they were turned back for the same reason that the Israeli Defence Ministry refused to allow two Belgian doctors to enter the country on Sunday.
A mission spokesman said the two doctors — who flew to Israel on Sunday night — were immediately placed on a flight back to Belgium, an NOS news reported.
The Israeli ministry said the Belgian doctors were refused entry to the Jewish State because they did not wish to enter the country on medical grounds. Instead, they had political motivations.
Gretta Duisenberg will fly to Zurich, in Switzerland, on Tuesday. There she will meet up with the two Dutch doctors and return to the Netherlands.
Duisenberg has previously used her diplomatic passport to enter Israel as part of her campaign for Palestinian rights. This time she had hoped to visit hospitals in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and speak with Palestinian medics.
She attracted national and international criticism in January with her first journey to the region when she met Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Duisenberg was also heavily criticised after claiming that Israel's occupation policies were worse than the Nazi World War II occupation of the Netherlands (excluding the genocide of more than 100,000 Jews). She later apologised for the remarks.
Duisenberg also made headlines by hanging a Palestinian flag from her balcony last year. Husband Wim admitted he was embarrassed by the controversy.
[Copyright Expatica News 2003]
Subject: Dutch news