Israel and the Netherlands are at loggerheads after Israel turned down a request to install a new security scanner donated by the Netherlands at the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) Crossing, the only semi-functioning commercial border crossing into the besieged Gaza Strip.
The conflict coincides with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s visit to Israel and Palestine. Rutte, who is currently in the West Bank, cancelled his visit to the border crossing on Sunday, where he was scheduled to launch the operation of the security scanner.
An Israeli official confirmed that it has postponed installing the security scanner, which would have helped accelerated the movement of exported goods through the Karem Abu Salem Crossing.
The official told Agence France Presse that: “Installation of the Dutch scanner, which would have been used to verify the contents of containers leaving Gaza and destined for export, was postponed after the Netherlands made unexpected demands.”
“Technically, there is no problem about installing the scanner at the Kerem Shalom crossing, through which goods originating in Gaza could pass. However, the Dutch suddenly imposed political conditions, notably on the percentage of merchandise destined for the West Bank or abroad. These are political issues that need to be resolved at the highest level, and which have delayed the start-up of the scanner,” the Israeli official added.