Improving EU-Israel relations
Netanyahu in Amsterdam synagogue: ‘Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state’
The European Jewish Press
By Maud Swinnen
He also hammered out that peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only be achieved if the Palestinians are willing to recognize the Jewish state.
Netanyahu spoke on the first day of his two-day visit to the Netherlands, a country which is among Israel’s closest allies in Europe.
Israel, Netanyahu said, "is willing to unconditionally talk again with the Palestinian Authority about peace."
"We have been asking this for three years," the Prime Minister said.
He invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas personally to resume negotiations as soon as possible.
He stated that a future Palestinian state "must be demilitarized" and that the Palestinians "must recognize Israel as a Jewish state." Netanyahu also made clear that secure borders for Israel are crucial. "I will never compromise when it comes to the security of Israel," he stressed.
He took the opportunity to thank the Dutch government for supporting his country. Holland and Israel "are on the same line" when it comes to solving the Middle East conflict, he said.
Holland's pro-Israeli stance
The conservative Dutch government led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte has taken a consistent pro-Israel stance, explicitly stating in its governing pact that the Netherlands "wishes to further invest in its ties with the state of Israel."
Holland has taken Israel’s defense in EU meetings and in October it was one of five European countries, along with Germany, that voted against Palestinian membership in UNESCO.
He also thanked the Dutch government to support severe sanctions against the Iranian regime. Netanyahu repeated that an Iran armed with nuclear weapons is a threat to the region and the world.
Netanyahu also praised the religious tolerance that has always characterized the Netherlands. He also praised the "thousands" brave Dutch people during World War II who offered shelter to Jews. "Many brave souls stood up against the Dutch evil of Nazism," he said.
It is the first visit by an Israeli premier in the country in fifteen years.
Netanyahu discussed Wednesday afternoon with Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal and Economic Affairs Minister Maxime Verhagen.
On Thursday he will meet with Queen Beatrix, and Prime Minister Mark Rutte,
As part of a special ceremony at the Dutch parliament, the Israeli Prime Minister will award a Bible as a mark of appreciation to Dutch Righteous Among the Nations Prof. Johan Van Hulst who saved hundreds of Jewish children during the Holocaust.
Pro-Palestinian activists have announced they plan to stage a rally at the same time to protest what they call "crimes" by Israel.
Israel's ambassador to Britain, Daniel Taub, was summoned to the Foreign Office on Monday to discuss plans for new home construction in the settlements, officials said, warning of "strong reaction" to the proposals...
- No plea bargain for former Olmert aide
- Haredi man convicted for harassing woman soldier
- Iranian arms ship due to arrive in Israel