Dutch sent 5th repatriation flight to Israel; demos in Amsterdam

Saturday's demonstration in Eindhoven. Photo: Rob Engelaar ANP

The Netherlands sent a fifth repatriation flight to Tel Aviv on Sunday, again using a defence ministry aircraft. The flight will return to Cologne on Sunday evening and the passengers will then be brought by bus to Eindhoven, the defence ministry said.  

The Netherlands has brought several hundred people out of Israel since the repatriation flights started on Thursday. On Saturday’s flight, there were 102 Dutch nationals and six people from other countries. 

The defence ministry has also sent a Hercules transport plane to Lebanon with a support team to bolster the Dutch embassy in Beirut where tensions have been rising. The soldiers will offer support “in the case of the security situation in Lebanon deteriorating sharply,” the ministry said in a statement

Meanwhile, a pro-Palestine march will be held in Amsterdam on Sunday afternoon, moving from Dam square in the city centre to Westerpark. The organisers expect at least 2,500 people to attend.

A much smaller pro-Israel rally will be held on Beursplein next to the stock exchange at the same time.

Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema has warned demonstrators to follow police instructions. In addition, officials and interpreters will be on hand to make sure chants and banners not in Dutch are not an incitement to hatred, she said. Hamas and Hezbollah flags have been explicitly banned. 

Several hundred people took part in a pro-Palestine demonstration in Eindhoven on Saturday, which passed off without problems, local media reports said.


EU leaders will hold an emergency virtual summit on Tuesday evening to discuss the situation in Israel.

“It is of utmost importance that the European Council… sets our common position and establishes a clear unified course of action that reflects the complexity of the unfolding situation,” EU president Charles Michel said. “This conflict has many consequences, including for us in the European Union.”

The EU “stands in full solidarity with the people of Israel and the victims of the terrorist attacks” and “Israel has the right to defend itself in full compliance with international law, in particular international humanitarian law,” he said. 

Nevertheless, the “unfolding tragic scenes in the Gaza Strip” are raising alarm bells in the international community, he said. “The conflict could have major security consequences for our societies. If we are not careful, it has the potential to exacerbate tensions between communities and feed extremism.”

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