Pro-Palestinian protest planned at Schiphol on Tuesday; Dutch willing to take in Gaza kids
A sit-in demonstration to raise attention on behalf of Palestinian causes will be held at the Schiphol Plaza area on Tuesday from 6 p.m., according to the organizers who put together similar protests earlier this month. During those events, hundreds of people demonstrated by sitting in the central station halls in Rotterdam, Utrecht and Amsterdam. Additionally, Dutch Health Minister Ernst Kuipers said the Netherlands is prepared to receive children from the Gaza Strip who are sick or injured.
The activists planning the Schiphol sit-in said they want the Netherlands to call for a ceasefire, and to demand unconditional humanitarian access for the population in Gaza. During previous protests, demonstrators shouted slogans such as "Free Free Palestine," "ceasefire now" and "Israel terrorist". The controversial slogan, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free," was also chanted.
The slogan has been used for five decades as a call for a single democratic state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea in the area that currently makes up Israel and the Palestinian Territories, according to Palestinian historian Maha Nassar. At the same time, the slogan has also been has also been used by Hamas, considered internationally to be a terrorist organization, to call for the expulsion of all Jews from that land, and for slaughtering those who refuse to leave.
However, the slogan is not controversial according to the organization putting together the Schiphol protest. "We rely on the ruling from the Amsterdam Court of Appeal that the slogan falls within the right to freedom of expression, and that use of the slogan does not constitute a threat, incitement, or criminal incitement to hatred."
The group said their sit-in action is not meant to block airline and train passengers. However, they previously positioned themselves in the station halls in such a way that the campaign was clearly brought to the attention of travelers. The group said it consists of people involved in various social movements and organizations.
After Tuesday, a national day of action is planned for Thursday, November 16. On that date, sit-ins will be organized at various train stations throughout the Netherlands, starting at 6 p.m. The organization confirms that there will be sit-ins that day at the central train stations in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, The Hague and Eindhoven, and also at the stations in Zwolle and Breda.
The Netherlands prepared to take in injured children from Gaza
The Netherlands is prepared to receive injured and sick children from the Gaza Strip, said outgoing Health Minister Ernst Kuipers on X. If a request is made, these patients will be transferred to a Dutch hospital, he stated on Monday. This could feasibly happen via a humanitarian corridor that can be set up from Gaza. No such request has been made, "but we are ready to help," Kuipers stated. The European Union still urged the opening of corridors on Sunday.
Should children from Gaza come to the Netherlands, they would be spread out among various healthcare institutions. Kuipers said that his ministry will work together with other ministries and healthcare institutions to handle the situation. It is not yet clear whether family members would be allowed to travel with the child concerned and whether they could then be given a temporary visa. The Ministry of Health said that everything will be carefully considered if there is a request.
Kuipers also said that his ministry "is ready to contribute to additional aid." This mainly concerns the supply of healthcare goods, such as materials needed for trauma surgery. Egypt is playing a role in coordinating this type of medical aid and patient care for Gaza. "The Dutch government does not have a supply of most of what has been requested. The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport is now looking, both nationally and in a European context, at how we can ensure that they also become available," Kuipers wrote on X.
The situation in Gaza is dire. Israel and Hamas are fighting a fierce battle with each other in the coastal strip of land. Israel sealed off the small area from the outside world weeks ago. More than two million people live there, and those who are present are facing a serious shortage of water, food and medicine. The international community is calling for a pause in fighting so that humanitarian aid can be brought into the area. Foreign citizens and injured people can also periodically leave Gaza.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times