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Netanyahu to Dutch PM: Gaza goods can’t flow to the West Bank for security reasons
By TOVAH LAZAROFF AND HAYLEY MUNGUIA
08/12/2013
Israel, Netherlands sign cooperative agreement; Netanyahu says Netherlands plays important role in supporting peace process.
 
Goods still can’t flow from Gaza to the West Bank for security reasons, Prime Minister Binaymin Netanyahu said Sunday.

Netanyahu thanked the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte for his country’s contribution to a new scanner at the Kerem Shalom Crossing on the Gaza border, when the two met in Herzilya.

“We want to make sure that goods that go from Gaza do not contain weapons or explosives that can reach the Palestinian Authority areas; that would undermine not just us, but the PA,” Netanyahu said.

“I do not want to give an open channel to Hamas and Islamic Jihad [to send weapons] into the PA, that is not a good idea,” said Netanyahu.

He explained that the scanner, which is already operational, has helped improve security for Israel and prosperity for the people in Gaza, but at present, it has been used to help the flow of goods from the strip to Europe.

The scanner is good. It is important for security and will be important for prosperity. We’ll take it one step at a time, together,” Netanyahu said.

He spoke with reporters at a special ceremony with Rutte, who along with representatives of 60 Dutch companies, is in Israel for a three day visit.

“The Netherlands is open for business,” Rutte said.

Netanyahu and Rutte signed a document that established “the Netherlands Israel Cooperation Forum.”

The forum provides a framework to cultivate private sector initiatives, particularly in technology, agriculture and energy, and to enhance the political dialogue.

The Netherlands, Netanyahu said, has an important role to play in supporting the peace process; through its financial investment in the area – including in the PA.

“That’s primarily by advancing prosperity. It’s not a substitute for the political theme, but buttresses it and helps give people hope and prevents them from sliding to, I would say to radical – I was going to give them a compliment and say medieval ideologies, but I think they’re pre-medieval in some cases,” Netanyahu said.

“We want to embrace the future, for prosperity, security and peace,” Netanyahu said.

He also thanked Rutte for his friendship, both to himself and to Israel.

“It is a great relationship that we have between our countries, our peoples, our governments, and between us personally. You have been a great friend, a champion of Israeli Dutch relations, and peace and prosperity,” Netanyahu said.

He recalled his visit to the ancient Portuguese synagogue in Amsterdam last time he was in Holland.

“It’s one of the great synagogues of the world. And it is a reflection, I think, of the role that Holland (really the free state of Holland), played in our history, that formed a refuge for Portuguese Jews,” Netanyahu said.

Rutte assured Netanyahu that the Netherlands understood his security concerns.

“We, as the Netherlands, are fully aware of the security concerns of Israel. We will always be,” Rutte said
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