Rutte heads for Israel for talks with Netanyahu and Abbas

Pro-Palestine demonstrators in Rotterdam on Sunday. Photo: Laurens van Putten ANP

Prime minister Mark Rutte is in Tel Aviv on Monday for a lighting visit to meet Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Later in the day he will also hold talks with Palestine’s president Mahmoud Abbas, the state information service confirmed.

Rutte said earlier on social media he had spoken to Netanyahu about the Dutch woman who was killed in Gaza after becoming stranded there with her four sons.

In that message he also repeated his earlier statement that Israel has the right to defend itself but that “Israel must do all it can to prevent ordinary people becoming victims of the battle against Hamas.”

“The tragic situation in Gaza calls for humanitarian pauses to allow much-needed aid to get through for Gaza’s innocent civilians,” Rutte said. “Gaza needs a sustainable humanitarian corridor for aid and essential goods such as food, water and fuel.”

Rutte said everything must be done to prevent the conflict from spreading to other regions and reiterated the need for a two-state solution.

French president Emmanuel Macron will visit Israel on Tuesday. Rutte said on Sunday evening he had spoken to both Macron and Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi about the situation on Sunday evening.   

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