Dutch development subsidies used to pay Palestinian fines: report

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Dutch development aid money is being to pay fines for Palestinian farmers so that they can retrieve equipment seized by the Israeli army. This practice has been going on for years.

This is according to research done by Dutch newspaper AD.

According to the newspaper, the Israeli army is increasingly seizing farmers' heavy equipment, such as bulldozers and excavators, in an effort to suppress the increasing unrest between Jewish settlers and Palestinian farmers. The settlers and farmers' conflict revolves around land on the west bank of the Jordan river.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs acknowledged to the newspaper that the Netherlands are paying these fines, because the farmers can not get the money together themselves. Between 2013 and 2016 the Dutch government is spending a total of 9 million euros on Palestinian agricultural projects, tens of thousands of which are going to fines.

Irene van Staveren, professor of development economics at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, told the AD that this construction does not fell right. According to her, it would be logical for the Netherlands to insist that the Israeli government does not issue fines on aid projects. The Center for Information and Documentation on Israel is not happy with the support either . Elise Friedmann of the center told the newspaper that it is strange that Dutch subsidies are being used for this. "Especially if the seized agricultural machines are used for violence."

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