A Dutch Activist on the Siege of Gaza
Gretta Duisenberg Speaks to IOL
It’s quite interesting when you hear about a true European supporter to the Palestinian cause, but it's much more interesting when you talk to them and carefully listen to what they say on Gaza, the largest "Open air prison" in today's world.
Mrs. Gretta Duisenberg, the wife of the former first president of the European Central Bank, and a friend of her Majesty the Queen of Netherlands, is a well-known pro-Palestinians activist who raised the Palestinian flag over her balcony during the Second Palestinian Intifada in 2000, and faced assassination attempts because of that.
IslamOnline.net's (IOL) Politics in Depth interviewed the Dutch activist as one of the international activists who recently joined the British MP George Galloway's convoy (Viva Palestina 3) to Gaza. IslamOnline.net (IOL):
What was your husband's reaction after you raised the Palestinian flag over your balcony during the Second Intifada?Mrs. Duisenberg:
It was a little difficult for him, because when you are a banker, you are not allowed to get into politics.
So, they were asking him all the time: what do you think about the actions of your wife?
He answered: "Well, I support her 100 percent", but he did not say that he supported Palestinians, just "I support her 100 percent". He was loyal to me, supported me in what I was doing, and told me that he was very proud of me, encouraging me to continue.IOL
:Why did you left your home, family, and Christmas to join the Viva Palestina's convey heading for Gaza?Mrs. Duisenberg:
I have seen these films on YouTube showing how Palestinians put the dead bodies on donkeys, because there are no ambulances.
While the Palestinian people are using these little wagons, Israelis shoot the donkeys from their watching towers.
Therefore, Palestinians have to carry all the goods themselves. Have you heard about the human organs that Israelis are taking from the Palestinians?
It is true; I saw the pictures. The Israeli soldiers are taking away young men and five days later, they brought them back cut open.
Israel has admitted committing such a crime.
Palestinian families have never given Israelis the permission to do so.
I have been encouraged to visit Egypt, especially to support the convoy. However, unfortunately, the Egyptian authorities prevented us from entering Gaza.
Egypt is filling the Gaza tunnels with water and gas. You know what they had said in our paper before I came here: Hamas, Hamas, Gretta … under Egyptian gas. I do not care; they can say whatever they like.
This means that Palestinians are going to die, because there is no water, no food, no electricity, and not even any ambulances.(IOL):
I wonder why the majority of Europeans, who usually support human rights, support Israel while it is committing serious violations of human rights?Mrs. Duisenberg:
This is because of two things; first, the Jewish lobby in Holland, like in the United States, is very strong and powerful, and it is still playing on our guilt feelings, although it is 63 years since the Holocaust.
In addition, whenever you have something against the Jewish people in Holland, they call you an anti-Semite.
The second reason is a political one; Holland's right-wing government is Christian radical, and the radical people within the Jewish people have very strong feelings toward Israel, and they dominate our government.
This caused the ignorance of the collective punishment that being imposed in Gaza by Israel, although this is against human rights and the Fourth Geneva Convention.
We have to uphold international human rights law, and Israel has to fulfill its human rights obligations and implement the UN resolutions, which it does not.
Israel has not implemented 39 UN resolutions.
For example, Israel has ignored UNSC resolution 242 concerning the Palestinians' right of return.
In addition, on July 9, 2004, in the Hague; Holland, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that all Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal, the Separation Wall must be torn down, and Israel has to go back to the 1967 borders.
Nevertheless, Israel does not comply, and Israel is going to build 3700 settlement houses in East (Al-Quds) Jerusalem.
In addition, Israel built the Separation Wall in the Palestinians' land, not alongside 1967 borders. It is an apartheid wall.IOL:
Israel says that Hamas is responsible for the siege of Gaza, how do you comment on this?Mrs. Duisenberg:
This is not true, because Hamas wanted a cease-fire before the Israeli war on Gaza in 2008.
The war was triggered last year by Israel. Hamas did not break the cease-fire, but Israel did. Israel had planned for this war three months before.IOL:
What is your opinion on Britain's consideration of reforming its laws to avoid suing Israeli politicians, after Tzipi Livni's recent case?Mrs. Duisenberg:
Britain now is doing nothing, like Obama, who promised that the settlements have to stop, but Netanyahu just goes on and says: "who cares".
If we do not punish Israel and keep doing nothing, Israel will get away with everything.
Livni and all of Israeli leaders and generals have to go to the ICJ; this is what we are pleading for, because all of the Zionist leaders are war criminals.
I think that Britain will not change its laws, but it will protect Livni.IOL:
Does the Fateh-Hamas friction affect your support for the Palestinian cause?Mrs. Duisenberg:
It is a shame and it is not good for the Palestinians cause. I think both Hamas and Fateh should be united, because the world, especially Israel, the United States, and the European Union like the fact that Hamas and Fatah are divided, and they take advantage of it.
My opinion is that Hamas was chosen by people, not Fatah, so Hamas should be the leader, not Abbas.
The people chose them through democratic elections, which everyone shall respect.
Why do we have democratic elections if one does not respect the outcome?
Abbas is cooperating with the United States and Israel. This is why they like Abbas more than Haniyeh, and this is why they want to keep Abbas in power.
Abbas gives in far more easily, and he wants to have power. However, Haniyeh has won, so we have to respect the will of the Palestinian people.IOL:
Do you think that Israel is honest and serious about peace negotiations? Mrs. Duisenberg:
Israel was saying that there was no partner they could negotiate peace with. Israeli kept saying that Arafat "was not a partner to talk to".
Then, when Abbas came, he was considered powerless, because he was an old man. Again, Israelis said that there is no person to talk to, so they cannot negotiate peace.
In the last Palestinian elections, people chose Hamas.
Hamas — Israelis, Europeans, and Americans say — is a terrorist organization, which I believe it is not.
In addition, Hamas is placed on the European terrorist organizations list, so European governments say that they do not talk to terrorists.
Hamas is now being collectively punished by the whole world, more or less, and Gaza borders are closed.IOL:
In your opinion, what is the most reasonable solution to the Palestinian issue?Mrs. Duisenberg:
I think it is not possible to create a two-state solution.
Israel always plays with this idea and say that they are for a two-state solution, but when one looks at the facts on the ground, it is impossible to create a two-state solution, because of the Separation Wall and West Bank settlements.
Israel call itself the only democracy in the Middle East, which is not true, because Palestinians still encounter all these checkpoints, and are not allowed to go out or enter some places.
The Zionist idea is to create a big Israel only for Zionists. Israelis want to annex the whole of Palestine, and all Palestinians have to go out.
Israel wants Palestinians to be servants for Jews. Many Israeli leaders have said that Palestinians are like cockroaches and that Israelis will crush them.
I have all those quotes at home with the date and where they were said;
I have quotes from Barak and Perez who won the Nobel Prize while he is a war criminal.
I think the only option is the one-state solution, but Israel does not want that!IOL:
I knew that you are a friend with Her Majesty the Queen of Netherland, so do you talk about Palestine with the Queen?Mrs. Duisenberg:
I never talk about that. Her Majesty does not want to talk about politics.
Nevertheless, once, princess Maxima was there at a reception, and I passed next to her and she called me and said: "I want to say that I really admire you". However, the Queen is not allowed to talk about politics, and she does not give her opinionhttp://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Sate ... Layout#**1