By Cnaan Liphshiz, January, 22, 2008.
Comment of Likud Holland: this was not reported by most (the politically
correct) Dutch media.
Visiting Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen told Haaretz Monday that the
singling out of Israel for criticism in international forums was unfair.
“It is not acceptable to focus on Israel time after time, while other countries like
Sudan do not receive any reference whatsoever at the United Nations Human
Rights Council and the UN General Assembly in New York,” Verhagen said in an
“I would like to set the record straight on Israel.”
Interviewed in his suite at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel, the Dutch foreign
minister said he has pursued “a more internationally balanced approach” to
Israel and has conditioned Dutch support for resolutions criticizing Israel upon
condemnations for Hamas’ actions.
Describing himself as a friend of Israel who feels “a close personal attachment”
to its people, Verhagen added he did not always see eye to eye with Jerusalem.
“Friends can speak freely about concerns and differences. In my talk
with Livni I mentioned the need to observe human rights
and dismantle outposts,” he said.
Verhagen also said he believes that the people of Gaza “should not be
collectively punished” and that “choking all economic activity there would only
radicalize them and create more attacks on both sides.
“In my meetings with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister
Livni I discussed the possibility of reopening the borders so the export of
agricultural export could take place.”
Asked whether the Netherlands’ support for private business initiatives in Gaza,
mainly in agriculture, would help Hamas, the minister said: “Hamas concerns
me. It’s important Palestinian civilians realize that we recognize the difficult
situation in Gaza, and that we want to help.” Supporting agriculture, he said, is
one of the ways of doing so.
A member of the ruling Christian Democratic Appeal party, the minister said his
cabinet “would never negotiate with Hamas for as long as it calls for the
destruction of Israel and as long as it doesn’t give up on violence as a tool.”
Although some of the CDA’s coalition partners have called for opening ties to
Hamas, Verhagen said the Netherlands “should never give a veneer of
legitimacy to the shelling of civilians and blowing up of buses – and this is the
opinion of both the government and the majority of the Dutch parliament.”