Israel has been slowly losing its allies around the world – but it seems that even those countries with a special relationship with the Jewish state are steadily growing their distance.
An internal document prepared by the Foreign Ministry and obtained by Ynet shows that the Netherlands joined the list of countries whose support for Israel has been on a constant decrease.
According to the document, "In recent years there has been a decline in the historic support for Israel among the Dutch public. The Netherlands is a country that places human rights high on its international agenda, as well as the issue of international law.
"The prolonged conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, along with negative coverage in the Dutch media have been the central factors leading to the declining support," the document notes.
The Palestinians, according to the current stance, "Are being portrayed as the weak side whose rights are violated, and as a result they enjoy sympathy and support from the Dutch public. Other factors to take under consideration are the influence of the Muslim community in the Netherlands, the decrease in feelings of guilt following the treatment of Dutch Jewry in World War II and the declining status of religion in the country (and a consequential decline in Christian support)."
Cast Lead eroded Israel's legitimacy
The document also stated that Operation Cast Lead and the way it was covered in the media have further polarized the public opinion toward Israel. "The apparent result of the military operation, based on the criticism being expressed in the Netherlands, is that there is a slow and steady erosion in the legitimacy of the State of Israel. This affects the Jewish community that is exposed to criticism due to its connection to Israel."
However, members in the Foreign Ministry laud Dutch Foreign Minister Maxim Verhagen, who is considered "very friendly toward Israel," while Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende also gets good marks for "keeping a balanced policy toward Israel within the Dutch government."