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New cabinet takes different approach to Middle East policy

Friday 02 November 2012

The new cabinet will switch strategies in terms of contributing to the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian territories, new foreign minister Frans Timmermans told Nos television on Friday.

The new coalition agreement states 'where possible, the Netherlands will contribute to peace and stability in the Middle East, using its good links with both Israel and the
Palestinian Authority'.

The previous coalition agreement only spoke of investing in links with Israel, without mentioning Palestine, a position which led to the Netherlands being isolated in Europe at times.

European policy

The pro-Israel policy was largely at the behest of Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam PVV whose party propped up the outgoing minority coalition.

For example, earlier this year, the Netherlands was the only EU country to refuse to approve an EU report on the violence used by Israeli settlers against local Palestinians.

Last September, outgoing foreign minister Uri Rosenthal also reportedly managed to stop European diplomats at the UN reaching a common position on the status of human rights in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

Is this a good move from the new government? Have your say using the comment box below.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

Hopefully they will look at Human Rights issues in all Middle Eastern Countries- not just Israel. That will keep them very busy...

By Peter | 2 November 2012 3:13 PM

Of Course it's a good move. NL's previous stance was a a disgrace

By Peter Altman | 2 November 2012 4:01 PM

It was a tragedy that the Netherlands squandered its reputation for liberal, fair-minded attitudes on foreign policy, and became an opponent of universal human rights under Uri Rosenthal - and a scandal that the rest of the government indulged his extremism. Now there is hope for those of us non-Netherlanders who long to admire Dutch values again.

By Donncadh | 2 November 2012 4:55 PM

New cabinet takes different approach to Middle East policy. This is a welcome development that could help to defuse a recurrent problem of concern. The soothing influence of Holland, together maybe with that of Sweden could help in stabilizing symbioses in a dangerous part of the world.

By Terence Hale | 2 November 2012 6:44 PM

Finally, a fair attitude to the Middle-East, not driven by Jewish extremists!

By Steve | 2 November 2012 8:05 PM

Is this a good move? Most certainly YES.
How can you promote peace by supporting one side only? The quicker NL abandons everything the PVV stands for the better. That was a very bad period of Dutch history which should be quickly buried in the dust.

By AC | 2 November 2012 8:07 PM

The Wilders's tragedy needs to be fixed. Facts remain that our country ignored human rights for one people so that the bais and bigotry of one politician can be flaunted is utterly unacceptable.

Our tradition has been to be friends with all but not at the cost of morality. If Israel needs to be told it has gone to far then so be it. We happily tell Palestinians to back off from terror and rockets and the PA understands that position, so why should we not be as blunt to Israel?

Double standards to form a government was a mistake, Rutte should have kept the moral ground then even if it meant another election.

By DC | 3 November 2012 12:17 AM

Is this a good move?


By John | 3 November 2012 2:48 AM

so now NL will start supporting a terrorist entity? How can one be so blinded?

By Eric | 3 November 2012 8:34 AM

Support Palestinian terror - indeed a move in a "good" direction. It is better for NL to be more involved in preventing massacres in Syria instead of supporting Hamas rockets

By Alex | 3 November 2012 12:02 PM

@Eric the people of palestine are not terrorists, nor the palestine state is a terrorist entity.

By Savvas | 3 November 2012 2:58 PM

This is a very good move. Palestinians are not terrorist but Israel is to a Palestinian. Israel blockades cement from Gaza, controls all the water, and free movement of Palestinians. I couldn't live with that but they have for a half a century.

By Ted | 3 November 2012 6:07 PM

Yes. Welcome back Holland! Now that the blockage has gone maybe the EU can move forward.

By Clive | 3 November 2012 9:51 PM

While I'm in favor of peace, I don't think Netherlands should give any consideration to terrorist organizations such as Hamas. So it is a complicated issue of how to promote peace, without giving any recognition to terror groups.

By Andre L. | 4 November 2012 1:22 AM

Yea. Let me know how that works out for ya. A couple thousand years of History was probably just people not trying hard enough towards peace in the region.

By DH | 4 November 2012 8:45 AM

Good move?, hardly. As the Dutch move back and allow Anti-Semitic voices to again gain political leverage they will slip into the sad growing stew that has been simmering in Europe and waiting to boil against the Jewish people once again. Disgraceful that they they are shedding the coat of courage and opting to return to Euro-Anti-Israelism but of course courage is an unpopular risk

By bet | 4 November 2012 10:12 AM

Under a PVV driven law, Netherland's MOFA made the IND to suppress Iranian highly skilled migrants to enter the Netherlands. Actually MVV is banned for Iranian people. Now, Netherlands is the only country that set such restriction on Iranian people. This rule may be also changed!

By Anonym | 4 November 2012 11:45 AM

@bet supporting freedom for the people of Palestine and demanding a peaceful solution between Israel-Palestine is not anti-semitic! If anything is pro-semitic! It will bring peace for the people of Israel too!

Admitting the truth about the Gaza blockade does not mean that anyone turns "against the Jewish people" as you put it. After all,many Jewish people recognize the suffer and the injustice done do the Palestinians!

Maybe you should stop the drama and see the truth!

By Savvas | 4 November 2012 2:12 PM

Palestinians terrorists? If my land, my home, my life was taken from me.....I might stand up against my oppressor. Two wrongs dont make a right here....but any effort to help Israel understand their brother and sister plight in Palestine should be supported.

By Steven | 4 November 2012 2:28 PM

I really wonder who really cares what the foreign policy of NL would be for the Middle East.

The Netherlands has long lost the reputation and it's global awareness.

By Chan Chur | 4 November 2012 8:21 PM

Supporting terrorists? Nice.

@Steven - it is possible to "stand up for yourself" without indulging in terrorism.

By Alexandra | 5 November 2012 12:50 PM

God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people, read Genesis 12v3. This is non-negotiable, arabs have no right to it.

By Andrea Hammond | 5 November 2012 3:47 PM

There are no Palestinian refugees in Morocco they will not let them enter this country, nor in Jordan and they live in ghetto's in Lebanon. Egypt keeps its border between Gaza closed. Have mercy on the real and poor Palestinian refugees who live in Independent Gaza while the Palestinian Authority delegations stay in 3000 dollar per night hotel suites in the US and Europe, CNN. Israels border is open and you know many Palestinians work there daily. In Israel itself 20 percent of its 7 million inhabitants are Arabs. NO demonstrations about the above in the Netherlands but they are always ready to protest against Israel. Help the Palestinians and be fair in your judgment of Israel!

By Emily | 5 November 2012 3:51 PM

Perhaps their god gave it to them, Andrea: What then? Which god is right? Shall we let God and Allah battle it out between themselves while the rest of us try to get on with life in a peaceful way, resepcting the rights of others instead of thinking only of ourselves?

Thanks, from a humanist.

By osita | 5 November 2012 5:37 PM

Let's talk about facts, not opinion.The assertion that "Palestinians are not terrorists" is simply false. Hamas is a terrorist organization.That's a fact. Hamas rules the Palestinian Territory. That is also a fact. Suicide bombing is a terrorist weapon. hat is a fact. Suicide bombing originated in Palestine. That is also a fact. Suicide bombings of Israeli citizens by Palestinians is a common tactic in Palestinians' efforts to secure what they call "peace" and the re-establishment of what they believe is their land. Regardless of what you believe in term of who has rights over the territory, or where you stand on the question of a 2-state or 1-state solution, Palestine is a terrorist state.

By abigail | 6 November 2012 7:19 AM

@bet: "Disgraceful that they they are shedding the coat of courage and opting to return to Euro-Anti-Israelism but of course courage is an unpopular risk" _ "Courage" has never been a characteristic of the Dutch.

By abigail | 6 November 2012 7:20 AM

Population of Palestine in 1947 ?1,900,000 68% Arabs and 32% Jews. Then up to 100,000 Arabs from the urban upper and middle classes in Haifa, Jaffa and Jerusalem, or Jewish-dominated areas, evacuated abroad. These people were part of the first wave of Palestinian refugees of the conflict. NOT mostly the poor farmers as is still believed in the West. Later another 100.000 fled. In 1947 large Arab military troops from Syria, Jordan and Egypt entered Palestine, well equipped and trained. As always it was all about land and greedy surrounding Arab countries who wanted the land of Palestine for their own. But as usual it soon became a human tragedy in Palestine for BOTH sides. Hopefully this will end soon!

By Emily | 6 November 2012 8:40 AM

Probably you do not know that, but it is also written in Quran, that Allah had promised the land of Israel to jews.

By ceye | 6 November 2012 5:43 PM

i can not believe people really quote from so called holy books here.. there is no promise or what so ever.. we are all human and it is just a piece of land.. they should learn to share it or they will continue killing each other till they extinct.Sad..

By dutchpie | 6 November 2012 9:23 PM

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