Written by Staff Writer
Delighted to accept the apology from British Prime Minister Theresa May for my comments, which were taken out of context, that were aimed at protecting and promoting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. https://t.co/ib4RceYDe2 — Mark Rutte (@markrutte) December 9, 2018
The Dutch parliamentarian known for defending Israel and its right to exist accepted an apology from UK Prime Minister Theresa May for his controversial comments about the country’s citizens’ access to hospital.
In a series of social media posts in response to the outbreak of Israel-Palestinian hostilities , the outspoken lawmaker declined the invitation to attend the annual UN climate summit, due to take place in South Africa.
But he later backed down after receiving an apology from May.
Rutte told his many Twitter followers, “Delighted to accept the apology from British Prime Minister Theresa May for my comments, which were taken out of context, that were aimed at protecting and promoting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The Democrat Party leader held a video press conference in November to share his concerns about access to Israeli hospitals. In one tweet, he said, “Israelis can no longer take for granted the fact that access to state-run hospitals is guaranteed, in case of emergency, for all citizens.”
According to Rutte, in multiple interviews at the time, access to hospitals was one of the basic needs of the Palestinian people as a result of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, also tweeting in the shadow of the war in Gaza with Iran, dismissed Rutte’s comments as factually inaccurate, he condemned them in subsequent posts.
As criticism increased, the 47-year-old politician announced on December 5 that he would be declining the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights conference invitation, saying in a video interview, “I was doing the right thing, on that occasion.
“However, I wanted to give the Israeli government and also the international community the opportunity to think.”
Rutte appears to accept blame for his decision to boycott the United Nations climate conference.
“My principled stand was against the high-carbon image of Israel. My tweet was in response to Netanyahu’s,” he wrote in an answer to an Austrian reporter in response to a question on Israel on the latter country’s environment issues.
According to the BBC, after his initial Twitter appearance, Rutte accepted an invitation from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to an event focused on access to public housing.
Please choose your words carefully. Israelis need their own Switzerland, and I see the Israeli Prime Minister Emmanuel (sic) Netanyahu as part of our very own Israel Germany Germany Bill Gates #ForeverFree #IsraeliPM #HistoricFriendship #IsraelisHoldGermany pic.twitter.com/5xeQ1oPjvC — Mark Rutte (@markrutte) December 5, 2018
Facing criticism from some of his own supporters, Rutte recently said in an interview with the French magazine L’Opinion, published Thursday, that “it’s obvious that I would like to show my face at the UN climate summit. But first, I’m simply expected to put in for a long and complicated visa procedure.”
“That requires a lot of expertise to give a reliable visa and, unfortunately, I don’t have that.”
On Twitter, he added, “It is not the ‘settlement’ of the World Conference that is of greatest concern, but Israel’s very existence, especially its security,” he wrote.
“We in the EU must no longer be intimidated and be careful not to repeat the past mistakes. No just conflict can be settled without a just solution. That is why my followers and others should know that I will still support the party in support of a two-state solution.”