PM Netanyahu met with Dutch Deputy PM Maxime Verhagen and FM Uri Rosenthal.
Netanyahu: "A nuclear Iran is a danger to Israel, the region and the world. Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. Sharp sanctions must now be enacted against the Iranian central bank and against oil exports."

 PM Netanyahu visit to the Netherlands


PM Netanyahu with Dutch Deputy PM Maxime Verhagen (Photo: GPO)

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is visiting the Netherlands, met on Wednesday, 18 January 2012, with Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen and Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal. The Prime Minister thanked them for the warm and brave ties between the two countries and for Dutch support of Israel in the international arena. 

During his visit to the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam, which was built in 1675 by Spanish and Portuguese exiles, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "A nuclear Iran is a danger to Israel, the region and the world. Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. Sharp sanctions must now be enacted against the Iranian central bank and against oil exports."

On the Palestinian issue, the Prime Minister said that, "Israel is committed to peace with the Palestinians. There are no preconditions for the negotiations. The talks cannot be over before they begin. I am ready to meet with Abu Mazen anywhere, anytime; I call on him not to run away from peace and to continue the negotiations. We do not want to repeat the mistakes we made in Lebanon and Gaza. Iran has entered the places we left. Israel needs to insist on genuine security agreements and not just promises. I will not compromise on Israel’s security, the security of the only Jewish state." Netanyahu added: "Why do they attack us? Why did they attack us in 1920 and before 1948? There were no refugees then. The refugees are the result of attacks, not the reason for them. The reason is the obdurate refusal to accept Israel as the state of the Jewish people."

Regarding the international court in the Hague, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "The leaders of Iran, who call for a new Holocaust, and Hizbullah and Hamas terrorists are war criminals. Israel and the Netherlands, the Jewish and the Dutch peoples, must stand together on behalf of the truth."

Netanyahu also visited the nearby Ets Haim library, which is the oldest Jewish library in the world and is home to approximately 500 ancient manuscripts. These include writings by Mainmonedes, the c1695 Amsterdam Haggadah, approximately 20,000 documents and approximately 30,000 volumes, in various languages.

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Remarks by PM Netanyahu and Dutch PM Mark Rutte at a Press Conference

 PM Netanyahu visit to the Netherlands

Photo: GPO

PM Rutte: I greatly, greatly appreciate the visit by Prime Minister Netanyahu to our country. We have just discussed the recent developments in the Middle East, as well as the economy and the economic relations between our two countries.

The Netherlands is involved in the whole region and we will continue to engage with both Israel and the Palestinians. Israel is a natural partner for us in the volatile Middle East. It is a strong, it is a democratic nation, with a powerful economy, and we need to build further on that foundation.

The first session of the Cooperation Council will be in Israel on June the 7th. I believe that the Council will deepen our dialogue and partnership in a whole range of areas – the economy, science and research, and of course the Middle East peace process. The Netherlands remains in favor of a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians on the basis of a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders.

In this respect, the Netherlands’ method is no different to that of the EU or the US. We call on the parties to negotiate directly without preconditions and to refrain from unilateral steps which are counterproductive. This applies to the Palestinian approach to the UN and it applies to Israel’s settlement policy. These negotiations must lead to an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state, and a secure and internationally recognized Jewish state of Israel.

Ladies and Gentlemen, today we are reaffirming the strong working relationship between Israel and the Netherlands. I look forward to the start of our new Cooperation Council.

PM Netanyahu: Thank you.

You know, I came here 15 years ago as Prime Minister for the first time, and I think this is a second visit of a Prime Minister in the last 15 years, so this is my second visit to Holland. In between I came as Finance Minister. So that tells you something. What it tells you is that I like Holland, I admire the Netherlands, I think that you’re one of our greatest friends and I think that this visit enhances this friendship.

There is a deep familiarity and sympathy and it comes about from the fact that we are two small nations that have stood against impossible odds, stood our ground, sometimes defeated much larger foes, maintained a tradition of liberty and free thinking in our own societies, developed enviable economies, developed arts, sciences, technology and trade, and this is something that creates this natural bond between us. We’ve explored many of these bonds, we will formalize some of them in our meeting in Jerusalem on June 7th. There is no area in which we cannot cooperate for mutual benefit and also for the enhancement of peace.

I found it instructive that in critical passages, as I told you, when Israel was unfairly accused, for example, of war crimes under the infamous Goldstone Report, your government stood out clearly and courageously and said: this is wrong, this is false, we won’t lend our hands to it, and after time, other countries saw the wisdom of that position, but we appreciate it in real time and throughout time, so I welcome the opportunity of taking your kind invitation to lunch, it’s a magnificent setting, our people will take cues that we have to have a similar facility in Israel, with equal lawns. 17th century building pines are always good, but also the opportunity to speak with Foreign Minister Rosenthal and the Deputy Prime Minister and the visit today with the Parliamentarians. I think this enhances the relationship between Israel and the Netherlands and it’s something that we deeply value and appreciate, so thank you for this invitation.

Thank you.