Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Meets with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this afternoon (Tuesday, 6 September 2016), met with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, at the latter's official residence in the Hague. They held a private meeting and an expanded lunch. Following their meeting, the two held a joint press conference:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
"Prime Minister Rutte, Mark, it’s a pleasure to be back here in the Netherlands. You are a great friend of Israel, a great personal friend and I think a great champion of peace.
There is a fateful battle that is raging today in the entire world, between the forces of peace and the forces of terror, between the forces of democracy and the force of tyranny, between modernity and medievalism. Israel and the Netherlands stand together for peace, democracy and modernity. We stand together against terror tyranny and medievalism.
Radical Islamist terrorist are spreading murder and misery across the Middle East and now deep into Europe as well. The epicenter of the slaughter is in Syria and Iraq where some 50 million people have been subjected to unimaginable misery. Half a million have already been butchered, countless others have been made homeless and of these, millions are streaming into Europe. If militant Islam is not stopped at the Middle East, the refugee crisis will only get worse.
So all civilized nations must band together to defeat this scourge in Syria and Iraq. But if we don’t also band together to defeat militant Islam in other parts of the Middle East, more will die, and millions more will flee their homes. Where will they go? One place – Europe.
So defeating militant Islam everywhere in the Middle East is critical for the security of our region, of Europe, of the world. And I know, Mark, that the Netherlands is doing its share in this effort, but let me say here very clearly, so is Israel, in the most volatile and dangerous region in the world – the Middle East, the democracy of Israel is a powerful force of stability and security. And many countries in our region have come to understand this.
I know that many in Europe are beginning to understand this as well – that Israel is not only defending itself, Israel is also helping to defend Europe. We share with you, our dear friends, our experience, our technology, and other capabilities. In the fight against Islamist terror, the Netherlands has no greater friend than Israel.
We are holding each other’s hands, as Israel and the Netherlands confront the terrorists who want to drag our world back to the dark ages. But at the same time, we also embrace together a bright future. This is a future that belongs to those who innovate. Israel and the Netherlands are two innovation nations. We may be small in size, but our people are blessed with giant talents, creativity, enterprise, ingenuity. And this is changing the shape of the world.
We’re both at the cutting edge of today’s technological revolution. We admire the great achievements that the Dutch people have made in water management – you invented it – in biotech and electronics, and I have to say in many other fields, in beer and football. Everywhere.
Israel too is a world leader in innovation. We’re known, as many of you probably know, we’re known as the startup nation. And I want to give you one example: Last year, Israel, a country of eight million people, received an enormous share of the global private investment in cyber security – at least 100 times, probably closer to 200 times, our size relative to the world’s population.
Everybody will need cyber security. Now the internet of things, there’s a few billion connections, soon trillions of connections. They all have to be protected. Our cars, our airplanes, our power stations, everything. This is part of the future. And time after time in our history, leading from the past into the present into the future, the people of Israel and the people of the Netherlands have proved that small nations can do great things.
But I think that by cooperating with each other, we can do even greater things.
Today we discussed exactly how to do that in all the areas that you mentioned and in one other area. Mark, I want to express my appreciation for your willingness to help us advance peace with our Palestinian neighbors by improving their quality of life.
Today we discussed a number of important steps to that end. First – improving the supply of energy and water to Gaza. We have no battle, no qualms, with the people of Gaza, only with the band of terrorist thugs who have taken them blackmail, so we fight the terrorists, but we want to have the population. And the first step is to improve the supply of energy of water and energy to Gaza, including laying a gas pipeline.
You asked, are we ready to do it? I’m telling you here, today, we have made a decision in our cabinet to do it, and I appreciate your help in realizing this project.
Second, we want to insure that Dutch funded scanners at the crossing points along the Jordan River and into Gaza are fully operational. We want them used as effectively as possible, so that we can enable the speedy passage of goods for the population, while preventing the smuggling of weapons to the terrorist organizations. This is something that you have been helping with. It’s vital, it’s deeply appreciated.
In addition, Mark, you offered to host a meeting of Dutch, Israeli and Palestinian experts to find new ways of cooperating on such matters as economic development, water, infrastructure and more. I think this is important for all of us. I think this is important for peace. I gladly accept your offer. I think this is something that gives hope, it gives a direction and improves the lives of people, and that is something that we are committed to. And I think this is a bulwark of peace.
So I appreciate deeply your generous support for all these efforts, and I appreciate too that you receive us with such warm hospitality and that you make the close relations between our countries and our peoples even closer.
I look forward to seeing you in Israel. Soon."
Attached photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)