Dutch PM visits Qatar and Israel in humanitarian aid quest

Rutte with the emir on Wednesday. Photo: Amiri Diwan / AFP

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has had a short meeting with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv as part of a second whirlwind tour of the Middle East.

Rutte, who met Netanyahu on Wednesday evening, said he had once again addressed the issue of a “proportionate” response to the Hamas attacks of October 7.

In addition, he said, they spoke about sending relief supplies to Gaza. “That is a role we are taking on together with a lot of other countries, to arrange humanitarian access,” he said.

Earlier Rutte was in Qatar for talks on the situation in Gaza at the invitation of the emir. Qatar, he told reporters, is looking at a number of scenarios for short breaks in the fighting and has a crucial role in the process.

“There are all kinds of proposals… to make progress in terms of humanitarian access and getting hostages and foreigners free, but that’s all I can say,” he was quoted as saying by NOS. “If this is to lead to anything, it cannot be done in the public eye.”

Rutte said he had also spoken by phone to Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas about “our efforts and those of many others to get more humanitarian aid to Gaza residents”.

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