Expatica news

Queen sends Arafat’s widow condolences

11 November 2004

AMSTERDAM — Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has sent a condolence telegram to Suha Arafat following the announcement of the death of her husband, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has also sent a telegram to his Palestinian counterpart, Ahmed Qureia, to express his sympathy.

Balkenende wrote that Arafat (1929 – 2004) gave his all for the Palestinian cause. “With his death, the Palestinian people have lost an historic leader, a national symbol and a democratically elected president.”

He also said the Dutch government will continue to support the Palestinian people in their efforts to solve the problems in the Middle East in a “lasting, just and peaceful” manner.

Speaking as chairman of the European Union, Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot also described Arafat who died in a French military hospital in the early hours of 11 November as a “historical leader of the Palestinian people”.

Bot said the EU would continue to work with Palestinian representatives and the international community to find solutions for the conflict in the Middle East.

But not all reactions from the Netherlands were so kind about Arafat’s legacy.

An umbrella body for Jewish organisations in the Netherlands, CJO, said the death was an opportunity for the Palestinian people to elect a leader who was far removed from violence. “Arafat never could or wanted to take this step,” the CJO said.

Speaking for the Liberal VVD party, MP Hans van Baalen said Arafat’s death was sad, but he echoed the CJO’s statement, signalling a new chance to reach a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news + Yasser Arafat