Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Dutch Parliament. .
(photo credit: AMOS BEN-GERSHOM/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued his campaign to convince European leaders that a strong, stable Israel is in their security interest on Wednesday, telling Dutch parliament leaders that in many senses Israel is not only defending itself, but Europe as well.
“Israel is the stable and stabilizing factor in the Middle East,” Netanyahu, on the last day of a two-day visit to the Netherlands, told Dutch Senate President Ankie Broekers-Knol, and Speaker of the House Khadija Arib, who was born in Morocco and came to the Netherlands at the age of 15.
In recent weeks Netanyahu has said in private meetings that the real danger to Europe does not come from Islamic State in the east – in Syria and Iraq – but rather from Islamic State in the west, Sinai and North Africa. According to this argument, were it not for Israel’s standing in the way, Islamic radicals could potentially wash over the entire Middle East and send many more millions of refugees across the Mediterranean to Europe.
Netanyahu, according to statement issued from his office, told the Dutch parliamentary leaders that Israel’s technological capabilities and its determined struggle against terrorism is strengthening Israel’s position in the world. According to Netanyahu, numerous countries across the world are interested in stronger ties with Israel now in order to tap into its technological capabilities and the experience it has gained over decades of fighting terrorism.
Regarding the Palestinian issue, Netanyahu – during a meeting with the Dutch Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee – disputed the premise that the settlements are the core reason for the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, saying instead that the true reason for the conflict is the stubborn refusal of the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
Not everyone was convinced.
Labor MP Michael Servaes tweeted after the meeting that it was a “long but disappointing conversation” with Netanyahu, whom he said “blamed everyone but Israel.”
He wrote that the premier was in “total denial about the impact” of the “occupation” on the Palestinians.
Servaes also wrote that Netanyahu gave “no concrete commitment to participate in initiatives of France and/ or Russia.”