The Netherlands has called for an inquiry into the attack by Israeli forces on an aid convoy heading for the Gaza Strip in which at least 10 people are reported dead.
‘I want the Israeli ambassador in The Hague to clarify matters,’ foreign affairs minister Maxime Verhagen said in a statement. ‘I am extremely shocked that people have been killed. The Netherlands wants to know exactly how this happened.’
‘What has happened today, just as talks were begining between Israel and the Palestinians, will not bring peace any closer,’ he said.
MPs from across the political spectrum, even those traditionally supportive of Israel, have said they were shocked by Israel’s actions.
‘Everything points to the fact that it is not right what Israel has done,’ the Volkskrant reports VVD MP Atzo Nicolai as saying. Unless Israel comes up with a convincing story, an international inquiry will be unavoidable, he said.
However, PVV MP Geert Wilders said it is ‘cheap’ to attack Israel. ‘I am certainly not going to make a cheap attack on Israel by howling in the woods with the rest of the wolves,’ he told tv show Nova.
Israel was fully justified in entering the ships to see if they were also carrying weapons, he said.
Meanwhile, the two Dutch nationals travelling with the convoy are being held in the Be’er Sheva prison in the south of Israel. They are among almost 500 activitists who have been taken into custody.
According to the news agency ANP, 29-year-old Anne de Jong and 43-year-old Amin Abou Rashed have been offered a fast-track deportation procedure but have refused because they want to complete their mission.
According to the BBC, Israel has imposed an information blackout, making it difficult to gather first-hand accounts from the campaigners.
Between 300 and 500 people held a demonstration in The Hague on Monday night in protest at the commandos’ action. But they were prevented from gathering in front of the Israel embassy because the Buitenhof square had been closed off.
The crowd carried banners and chanted ‘Israel murderer’. At one point riot police charged the crowd with batons. Gretta Duisenberg, pro-Palestine activist and widow of former central bank chief Wim Duisberg was among those who was hit.
Benji de Levie, 63, who was standing next to Duisenberg, told the Volkskrant he had been trying to avoid a confrontation with the police. He said he had been hit several times.
For the latest BBC report on the attack click here
Editors note, we have been forced to disable comments for this article because of a large number of incitements to violence and racial hatred from both sides of the argument.
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