Dutch condemn Hamas leader’s killing
22 March 2004
AMSTERDAM — The Dutch government condemned the killing of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and asserted that the Israeli air strike that killed seven other Palestinians breached international law, Foreign Minister Ben Bot said on Monday.
Speaking in Brussels at a meeting of EU foreign ministers, Minister Bot also said that the attack “sharpened the disappointments in the Middle East and frustrated the efforts of the international community to bring the Middle East closer to peace”.
Yassin, 67, was the co-founder and spiritual leader of the Hamas movement. He was killed in a helicopter rocket attack as he returned from a mosque in Gaza City on Monday morning.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon personally ordered the attack and the military claims Yassin was responsible for the killing of Israelis. But the daybreak attack triggered calls for revenge from Palestinians, as tens of thousands took part in a funeral.
The Palestinian Authority said the door to chaos has been opened and the armed wing of Hamas warned it will kill hundreds of Israelis in revenge for the attack on its leader, Radio Netherlands reported.
Internationally, the US appealed for calm, but did not comment further, while EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said the killing is extremely bad for the peace process. France condemned the assassination and Britain said it was “unjustified”.
Back in the Netherlands, MPs have also condemned the attack, but did not expressly regret the death of the Hamas leader.
Government coalition party Liberal VVD MP Geert Wilders said executions are not permissible without a trial and feared Yassin’s death will have large-scale consequences for the Middle East.
An MP for the government party Christian Democrat CDA, Camiel Eurlings, said he could not muster any sympathy for Yassin, but said the execution carried out by Israel — which pretended to be a constitutional state — was alarming.
And an MP for main opposition party Labour PvdA, Bert Koenders, said the attack was “murder”. He also said “an execution without trial” must be rejected, news agency ANP reported.
The director of the Israel Information and Documentation Centre (CIDI), Ronny Naftaniël, said the attack was to be expected. “You must not think that you keep out of harm’s way if you are responsible for terrorism,” he said.
The chair of the foundation Another Jewish Sound (Een Ander Joods Geluid), Max Wieselmann, said the attack was not a solution for the peace process in the Middle East. The foundation chief also said the attack demonstrated that there was no longer any room for dialogue.
“It is very sad, because you know what the consequences of such an attack is. It puts everything on edge again,” Wieselmann said.
The Arabic European League (AEL) also condemned the attack, writing that it was deeply saddened by the loss of Yassin. The AEL said its heart was with Yassin’s family.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news