Citing ‘ongoing conflict,’ Amsterdam scraps twinning with Tel Aviv, Ramallah

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Amsterdam’s mayor scrapped a vote to twin his municipality with Tel Aviv and Ramallah following opposition by left-wing parties on the city council.

Mayor Eberhard van der Laan on Thursday scrapped the vote, which had been scheduled for July 1, according to TV5, because of opposition to the gesture by his own Labor Party, the Socialist Party, GreenLeft and the Party for the Animals.

Ramallah was added to the proposal to twin Amsterdam and Tel Aviv following objections by the Socialist Party to twinning only with the Israeli city, saying it “might be perceived as an unbalanced approach” to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

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After Ramallah was added, the Socialist Party did not drop its objections, saying “ongoing conflict” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority was also an argument against twinning.

“In the short term, there is no view to viable peace,” Daniel Peters, the chairman of the Socialist Party faction within Amsterdam’s city council wrote last week.

“What are we going to do if rockets start flying back and forth?” he wrote. “If Ramallah has a Hamas mayor? If Israel continues the occupation? We fear this association agreement will cause more problems than it can solve.”

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