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Israeli minister slams Dutch company for severing water ties


Israeli minister slams Dutch company for severing water ties

JERUSALEM, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Israel's water and energy minister slammed Wednesday a decision by the Netherlands' water company to sever ties with the national water supplier of Israel due to its settlement policy in the West Bank.

In an interview with Israel Radio, Silvan Shalom said that the Dutch company was influenced by anti-Israeli organizations in Europe and tried to belittle the effect of its move.

"The company sent us a letter apologizing for the move, explaining it was under heavy political pressure," Shalom said.

Also, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor slammed the Dutch company's decision.

"It is more than strange that this Dutch company should boycott an Israeli peer that works with the World Bank on a very important regional cooperation project, which benefits the Jordanians and the Palestinians," he said.

Vitens, the Netherlands' largest supplier of drinking water owned by the government, announced on Tuesday it was cutting ties with Mekorot.

One month ago, the Dutch company signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on projects with the Israeli company. But amid growing criticism, the Netherlands had to retract the deal.

The company said in a statement regarding its decision that it "attaches great importance to integrity and abides by national and international law and regulations."

The International community criticizes Israel's continued construction of settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, lands the Jewish country annexed after the 1967 Mideast war.

In 2014, the EU will forbid all private and governmental companies based in its region to cooperate with Israeli companies whose operations are carried out on the occupied territories.