Dutch government warns: Beware stone-throwing settlers

Israeli embassy protests travel advisory, saying Holland’s words slander an ‘entire community’

The Dutch government issued a travel advisory (Dutch) to anyone heading to the West Bank to be on the alert for Jewish settlers throwing stones at Palestinian and foreign vehicles.

“Be careful if you are driving in these areas,” the government warning advised, according to the Ynet news site. “There are regular demonstrations and violent incidents in the area. Jewish settlers live in illegal settlements in the West Bank. These settlers organize on a regular basis demonstrations close to the roads. These demonstrations are sometimes violent. This happens when settlers throw rocks toward Palestinian and foreign vehicles.”

Posted online last month, the warning continued: “One should be alert around Jewish settlers in proximity to the settlements, especially in the hills around Hebron and Nablus. As such, pay attention in the closed military areas of Hebron (H2 around Shuhada Road and the Abraham Mosque / Tomb of the Patriarchs). Also there, extremist settlers are liable to be hostile.”

The advisory also focused on violence by Arabs, urging tourists to be wary of the “unstable” situation in the region and warning Dutch citizens not to travel to areas of Jerusalem.

“Palestinians demonstrate regularly against the occupation in various places,” it noted, adding that “these demonstrations sometimes involve violence. There are always Israeli soldiers present during these demonstrations. Avoid demonstrations. Recently, there have been violent incidents in the border area between east and west Jerusalem. They are aimed at Israelis. Be alert in those areas and avoid public transportation.”

“The security situation is unstable. Since the ceasefire on August 27, 2014, there has been relative quiet in Gaza but the situation is unpredictable,” the text went on.

“Living conditions are adverse and the security situation can easily deteriorate at any time. There is a possibility of clashes between Hamas and extremist groups like Islamic Jihad. Innocent bystanders are liable to be hurt. Furthermore, there is a constant danger of becoming victim to Israeli aerial attacks.”

The advisory drew an angry response from the Israeli embassy in Amsterdam.

“It is not acceptable to tarnish the reputation of an entire community. We will convey our protests to senior officials in the Netherlands,” the embassy said in a statement.

The warning comes as the Israeli government is considering new legislation proposed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked to increase minimum sentences for stone throwers to 10 years, though the focus there is apparently on Arab perpetrators and not Jewish ones. The bill passed its first reading in the Knesset Monday.

JTA contributed to this report.

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