Mark Rutte urges Israel to reduce level of force, allow in aid

Mark Rutte and Palestinian prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh during Monday's meeting in Ramallah. Photo: EPA/ Alla Badarneh

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte says he has again appealed to Israel to reduce the level of force it is using in Gaza, and said that large-scale military action in Rafah, where over one million people have gathered because of the bombing, would have catastrophic humanitarian consequences.

Rutte was in the Middle East on Monday for talks with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mohammad Shtayyeh, leader of the Palestinian Authority.

“The Netherlands maintains good relations with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority and, like other countries, we are using those ties to bring pressure to bear,” Rutte said. “All efforts must now be focused on securing an immediate pause in the fighting that leads to a permanent cessation of this terrible conflict, which is causing so much suffering.”

The Netherlands continues to support a two state solution to the conflict with a viable Palestinian state existing alongside a secure Israel, he said.

On Tuesday, the caretaker prime minister is in Saudi Arabia where, he said, he will discuss the war between Israel and Hamas and joint efforts to prevent the conflict from escalating.

Meanwhile, the Dutch foreign affairs ministry has confirmed it will appeal against Monday’s court ruling ordering the Netherlands to stop supplying parts for F-35 fighter jets to Israel within seven days.

The state’s decision to appeal is separate from the situation in Gaza, the foreign ministry said, describing conditions facing the population as “very worrying”. It also repeated calls for Israel to abide by the humanitarian rules of law.

The Hague city council has invoked its emergency powers in the area around the Israeli embassy in the city centre. That means the police can stop and search people approaching the building and deny them access.

Heightened security measures, including additional fencing and police capacity, were introduced at the embassy on the Johan de Wittlaan last week. The measures were taken in response to threats which are “being taken extremely seriously”, mayor Jan van Zanen said.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation