Prime minister Mark Rutte on Monday reiterated his earlier statement saying the Netherlands “fully recognises that Israel has the right to defend itself”.
Rutte was speaking to reporters after meeting senior ministers to discuss the security situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories in the wake of Saturday’s attack by Hamas and the ongoing fighting.
The Netherlands is now “extra alert” to the security of Jewish buildings in the Netherlands, such as synagogues and schools, he said but declined to give further details.
At the moment there is no question of ending financial aid to Palestinians, Rutte said, adding that “we are not financing Hamas”. Palestinians in Gaza have lived under the “yoke of Hamas” for 16 years he said. “We must distinguish between ordinary Palestinians and Hamas.”
The Israeli flag has been hoisted from government buildings on Monday. “Some 250 people were slaughtered at a festival in cold blood,” he said. “Hanging up a flag is the least we can do.”
When asked, the prime minister also declined to condemn pro-Palestinian demonstrations that took place in Rotterdam and other places at the weekend.
“We live in a society that can withstand debate,” he said. “This is a free, democratic society and you can demonstrate as long as you keep to within the letter of the law.”
In a statement on Sunday, the Dutch regional mosque alliance said in a statement “our thoughts are with the families of the innocents who have been touched by this tragedy”, broadcaster NOS reported.
“The structural cause of this continuing conflict in the region is the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory,” the statement said, calling on the international community to recognize that Palestinian human rights are being ignored.
The mosques called for “peace, dialogue and a truly just solution for this long-running conflict.”
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