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Israeli-Dutch Plan to Provide Gaza with Energy and Water | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A Palestinian Hamas security officer stands guard in Gaza, on October 9, 2014. (Mohammed Abed/AFP)

Tel Aviv-The Dutch government will assist Israel in improving the economy of the Gaza Strip by supplying the territory with more electricity and water and building a gas pipeline, political sources in Tel Aviv said.

The Israeli-Dutch agreement came during a visit that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made to the Netherlands where he met with top officials in The Hague.

Israeli sources said that Netanyahu’s trip was highly significant in several fields, mainly issues linked to Europe’s security and anti-terror measures.

But the agreement on Gaza opens up new horizons in the region’s political strategy, the sources said.

An official close to Netanyahu said the deal is a sign that Israel’s policies are fruitful in the West and that there is a rising awareness on the importance of issues linked to the livelihood of Palestinians and their social and humanitarian status.

“We are ready to assist Gaza even if it remains under the control of Hamas and we hope that such assistance would clear the tension,” the official said.

Netanyahu discussed with the Dutch officials the Palestinian issue.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the talks with his Israeli counterpart tackled extremism and European concerns over Israeli-Palestinian relations.

“We back Israel’s right for self-defense … But Palestinians should understand that violence does not lead to a solution,” he said.

Rutte stressed the need for a two-state solution based on the 1967 border, calling on Israel to cease the policy of settlement expansion.

Netanyahu, on the other hand, focused in his remarks to the press on the issue of terrorism.

But he was embarrassed when Dutch lawmaker Tunahan Kuzu refused to shake hands with him.

Footage emerged showing Kuzu, wearing a Palestinian flag pin on his blazer, keeping his hands behind his back as Netanyahu approaches to shake his hand.

Kuzu has said that he doesn’t shake hands with a man who has caused the death of thousands of Palestinians.

But a source close to Netanyahu said that Kuzu is a Muslim and is known to be anti-Israel.