June 23, 2024

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Europe at risk from Israel-Hamas war, warns Dutch justice minister

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The Dutch justice minister — and a frontrunner to be the next premier — has warned that the conflict between Israel and Hamas could cause civil strife in European countries.

Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius said the cycle of violence “will get translated to our societies”. Her comments came in an interview before Islamist attacks in France and Belgium killed three people and left three injured.

“Israel has every right to defend itself, which will also mean innocent victims on the Palestinian side and victims on the Israeli side will continue. It will get translated to our societies as well,” she said. 

Yeşilgöz-Zegerius, the daughter of Turkish Kurds who fled persecution, said she was reviewing security arrangements in Jewish areas. There were about 50,000 Dutch Jews, mostly in Amsterdam, she said, and there are already special police units to protect them and patrol outside synagogues and schools.

There were no “concrete threats”, she said, but “we are looking at whether it is enough” and if changes were necessary.

The minister defended the right of those sympathising with the Palestinians to protest. France has banned demonstrations while Germany has been criticised for heavy-handed policing. 

“In a democracy everybody can go out on the streets and demonstrate and be an activist. That is good. If you see Hamas flags and things that belong within a terrorist context, then the police and the prosecution should be aware . . . and handle it.”

Yeşilgöz-Zegerius, 46, called for people to “unite against terrorism”.

“You have to show that you are supporting Israel in this case. So you just raise the flag and show this is one front against terrorism.”

But as in other European countries, political parties in the Netherlands have diverged in…

2023-10-22 00:00:45

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