JERUSALEM (Jul. 18)
There were cordial but vigorous exchanges of views here Monday between Israeli leaders and two visiting Dutch officials, Premier Ruud Lubbers and Foreign Minister Hans van den Broek.
Lubbers, declaring he spoke as a friend of Israel, was sharply critical of its policies in the administered territories.
Addressing a dinner in his honor at the Knesset building Sunday night, he said Israel could not expect peace and refuse to trade land for peace.
He chided Israel for letting fear of the Arab presence on its borders dominate its thinking. He advocated an international conference to resolve the Palestinian problem and said the Palestine Liberation Organization should participate.
The prime minister reportedly had hoped to deliver his speech to the Knesset, but that privilege is reserved for heads of state. Lubbers heads the Dutch government; Queen Beatrix is the titular head of state.
Lubbers and van den Broek had separate meetings Monday with Premier Yitzhak Shamir, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
The Israelis tried to convince the visitors that the situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is not as bad as they believe it to be.
Van den Broek got a first-hand look at the Palestinian uprising Monday, when he toured the Kalandiya refugee camp, near Jerusalem.
DISTURBANCES AT REFUGEE CAMP
A group of local youths, masked and waving Palestinian flags, was dispersed by Israeli soldiers firing rubber bullets.
Addressing camp residents briefly, the Dutch foreign minister said, “We think that Israel has a right to exist. We also feel that the Palestinians have a right to self-determination.”
Rabin reportedly did most of the talking at his 55-minute meeting with the Dutch ministers at the King David Hotel. He said punitive measures such as expulsions were used very selectively and could always be appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court.
Van den Broek met with a group of 22 prominent Palestinians in East Jerusalem Monday afternoon and Lubbers met with a similar group.
The Dutch ministers were handed petitions urging Holland to establish diplomatic ties with the PLO and use its influence on Israel to change its policy in the administered territories.
A group of Peace Now activists who met with Lubbers urged the Netherlands to “use its influence with the PLO to soften its position.”
The Palestinians asked the Dutch to open a consulate in East Jerusalem. There has been one in western Jerusalem for more than 60 years.
Lubbers toured East Jerusalem Monday afternoon, visiting the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall. He told reporters his trip to Israel is important “because you have your 40th anniversary and you are going through a difficult period.”
He also visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial Monday and attended a ceremony in honor of the residents of Nieuvlander, a village in Holland that sheltered Jews from the Nazis during World War II.