Monday

19th Nov 2018

Dutch powerless to stop dog exports to Israeli army

  • Dogs are not considered as having a possible military purpose under EU's dual-use regulation. (Photo: Israel Defense Forces)

The Netherlands would like to limit the export of Dutch-bred dogs to Israel, where the army uses them in occupied Palestinian territories, but is not allowed to do that under current EU rules.

The Dutch minister for foreign trade, Lilianne Ploumen, told members of the Dutch parliament in a letter on Tuesday (9 February) that she saw no legal possibilities for curbing the export of service dogs.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

EU member states can only limit national exports under certain conditions – export bans are usually decided on at the European level.

Ploumen had asked the European Commission's legal service if the export of dogs could be limited under the so-called dual-use regulation, which allows unilateral national bans under some circumstances. The regulation sets out common European rules about goods, software, and technology which can be used for a military as well as a civilian purpose.

But in her letter, she said that the commission considered service dogs as having a civilian purpose, even when they are accompanied by soldiers.

The Dutch wish to have more control over dog exports came after the national newspaper NRC Handelsblad reported in October 2015 that Dutch dogs were being used by the Israeli army on patrols in Palestinian territories, and that they had bitten Palestinian civilians, including minors.

The paper quoted humanitarian lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld, who said Israel “uses the dogs as weapons” and that the exports should stop.

But that is unlikely to happen.

Ploumen said the Netherlands had also raised the issue in a forum with other member states called the Working Party on Conventional Arms Export. But it could not find a majority to support its wish to consider service dogs as potentially having a military use.

She noted that civil servants had spoken to a Dutch company identified as Israel's major supplier of service dogs.

They told the company it had a responsibility when conducting business in conflict areas. According to Ploumen, the firm promised to develop a corporate social responsibility policy. It also promised to engage with its buyers about how the dogs are deployed.

Ploumen also called on Israel to use force only when it is allowed to do so under international law.

But on the whole, her hands are tied.

Israeli bulldozers demolish EU-funded buildings

Israeli bulldozers have demolished more than 20 buildings in Palestinian villages in the West Bank, including EU-funded structures, amid mounting European frustration.

Opinion

Six EU double standards on Israel

Israeli prime minister Netanyahu often accuses the EU of applying "double standards" to Israel. It's true. But all of them are in Israel's favour rather than the other way round.

Opinion

Breaking the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock

The chaos sweeping the Middle East provides the right conditions for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The EU should throw its weight behind a French initiative to restart the peace process.

News in Brief

  1. Ireland extradites Polish man despite rule of law concerns
  2. Germany and France agree eurozone budget framework
  3. Austrian foreign minister: EU's Israel policy 'too strict'
  4. Soros and Kurz discuss Central European University move
  5. EU set to tighten rules on foreign strategic investment
  6. Macron repeats call for unified Europe in Bundestag speech
  7. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  8. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem

Opinion

Macron's 'European army': why is everyone talking about it?

Few people commented on one key point in Macron's statement: he did not justify the idea of a European army by the need to intervene in Africa, which would have been France's traditional approach. Instead, he invoked the Russian threat,

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Spain raises Gibraltar, as EU and UK talk post-2020 relationship
  2. Panic is not answer to EU's security challenges
  3. Dutch flesh out proposal for EU human rights sanctions
  4. EU cheerleaders go to Russia-occupied Ukraine
  5. EU must recognise new force for Balkans destabilisation
  6. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  7. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  8. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us