Netherlands outraged after Israel seized Dutch-funded solar panels in West Bank

BETHLEHEM/PNN/The Netherlands has reacted with outrage after Israeli authorities seized dozens of solar panels in a remote occupied West Bank village that were donated by the Dutch government.

Israeli forces confiscated the solar panels in the isolated village of Jubbet al-Dhib east of Bethlehem on Wednesday that were installed last year, under the pretext that they were built without the nearly impossible to obtain permits required by Israel to develop in Area C, the 61 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control.

A report Saturday by Israeli news daily Haaretz cited a statement from the Dutch Foreign Ministry, that said the Dutch government lodged a protest with Israel over the confiscation of the electricity equipment, which was said to be a hybrid power system of both diesel and solar power.

The Dutch government-donated electrification project in the southern Bethlehem region cost about 500,000 euros, 350,00 euros of which went to Jubbet al-Dhib, according to the report.

The Dutch Foreign Ministry has requested Israel return the equipment and is “currently assessing what next steps can be taken,” the ministry’s statement to Haaretz said.

Some 150 Palestinians reside in Jubbet al-Dhib, which is neighboured by the illegal Noqedim settlement, home to Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, as well as the illegal El David settlement, in addition a number of Israeli outposts. These outposts, despite being illegal even under Israeli domestic law, still enjoy connection to the power grid and access to other infrastructure, according to Haaretz.