Former PM criticises policy on Israel

Former prime minister Dries van Agt has criticised what he sees as the pro-Israel policy of his fellow Christian Democrat and current foreign affairs minister, Maxime Verhagen.

In an interview with, Van Agt, who was prime minister from 1977 to 1982 and has spent the last 10 years lobbying on behalf of the Palestinians, says that Verhagen’s knowledge of the facts is greater than his was when he was in power.
‘That is a plus for him and a minus for me. But at the same time it is a massive minus for him. It is all the more noteworthy and reproachable that he remains so pro-Israel on the basis of so much more knowledge,’ Van Agt is quoted by as saying.
The former prime minister says it is incomprehensible that the Dutch government defends the actions of Israel in the recent war in the Gaza strip.
‘Verhagen and [current Dutch prime minister] Balkenende claim Israel has the right to defend itself but you can only use that right as a last resource if there are no alternatives and in this case there were,’ he is quoted as saying.
Van Agt also accuses the Dutch government of preventing the European Union from exerting economic pressure on Israel.

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