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Dutch Foreign Min. urges Israel go exercise restraint

Dutch Minister Hanke Bruins Slot of Foreign Affairs urged Israel to use restraint in its attacks on the Gaza Strip, she said on X following a meeting with her Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen. The Dutch government is still pushing for “pauses” to provide humanitarian aid to the Palestinians under siege, not a ceasefire.

“I expressed my deep sympathies for all innocent Israeli lives lost in the horrific attacks by Hamas on 7 October. The Netherlands shares the grave concerns about the hostages currently still in Gaza,” Bruins Slot said. “I will continue stressing the need for their immediate and unconditional release.”

“I also underlined the importance of immediate pauses in hostilities. These pauses are critical for the delivery of aid,” the Dutch Minister continued. “I explicitly urged for restraint and to act in line with international humanitarian law.”

Bruins Slot also met with Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh of the Palestinian Authority. “I expressed my sincere condolences for the many Palestinian civilian casualties. The situation in Gaza is dire, and more aid is urgently needed.” Here, too, she stressed that the Netherlands was pushing for “immediate pauses in hostilities.”

“We remain committed to supporting the Palestinian Territories through humanitarian assistance and development cooperation,” the Dutch Minister said. “We must persist in working towards a two-state solution, with a viable Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel.”

Over 13,300 people have been killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7, including over 5,000 children, according to Al Jazeera. Another 1,800 children are missing under the rubble of destroyed buildings. Most of them are presumed dead. Current information has been hard to come by since the Palestinian health system collapsed last week. The Israeli death toll stands at over 12,200, mostly victims of the Hamas attacks that triggered this violence.

Last week, NRC revealed a confidential memo in which the Military Attache of the Dutch embassy in Tel Aviv warned the Dutch government that Israel was using “disproportionate force” and targeting “infrastructure and civilian centers” in the Gaza Strip, resulting in the “high number of civilian deaths.”