Rutte reaffirms support for Israel “within boundaries of law”

Demonstrators near the Israeli embassy in The Hague. Photo: Josh Walet ANP

EU leaders are united in their approach to the war between Hamas and Israel, prime minister Mark Rutte told reporters after an emergency meeting on Tuesday evening.

Reports of the bombing of a hospital are shocking, Rutte told RTL Nieuws. “But first we need to wait for more information about what happened.” And the Netherlands, he said, remained firmly committed to Israel, “with the boundaries of proportionality and international laws on warfare”. 

“And we expect Israel, as a democracy, will keep to these,” he said. 

The Netherlands on Tuesday allocated a further €10 million to the humanitarian operation in Gaza and EU leaders have also agreed to more funds.

Rutte said EU leaders are united in their approach. “Firstly, Israel must be able to defend itself against this terrorist attack, there is total support for this,” Rutte said.

Secondly, he said, EU leaders stressed the need for humanitarian measures for the people in the affected areas, including access to food, power, water and fuel.

“And thirdly, there was major agreement that we should work together to make sure this war, with so many people killed already, does not turn into a regional conflict.” 

There were spontaneous demonstrations in several places in the Netherlands on Tuesday night after the attack on the hospital.

In Rotterdam, several hundred people waving Palestinian flags gathered outside the main railway station, and the situation was similar in Amsterdam.

In The Hague, a large crowd gathered outside the Israeli embassy chanting “Free Palestine” and “Intifada”. 

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