The Dutch foreign minister Maxime Verhagen will visit Israel on Monday, bringing the message to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that the Hague wishes to play a more central role in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even before the minister's visit to the region began... 52 senior Dutch figures demanded on Saturday that their government recognize Hamas and "apply more pressure against Israel, to restore the international community's credibility."... The petition appeared in several daily papers, and featured signatures of many other opinion shapers from across the political board. "The government must help break the impasse. With the Arab League," the petition read. In addition, the document included an implicit demand that Holland recognize Hamas: "The Netherlands must engage in dialogue with all the relevant parties."From the outside, it looks like the diplomatic equivalent of spitting in someone's face - it would absurd to expect anyone to listen to you after you've attacked them publicly. But to Europeans, this doesn't really seem like an overly vicious attack. Strutting around in righteous anti-Israel indignation is just something people do - a kind of particularly vicious and vindictive fashion statement that makes them one feel better about themselves. And it's not like anyone real gets hurt - it's just the Israelis. So it's totally natural for them not to consider Israelis' sensibilities when coordinating their diplomatic moves.
[Cross-posted to Mere Rhetoric]