Lecture on “The Palestinian Dutch Relations”

As part of a series of diplomacy meetings, the Birzeit University Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Institute of International Studies held a lecture on “The Palestinian Dutch Relations” on June 20, 2013. The lecture was delivered by the Palestinian Ambassador to Netherlands Dr. Nabil Abuznaid, who explained about the Palestinian community in the Netherlands, which reached up to 7,000 persons. He added that these Palestinian started working as laborers in oil factories in the Netherlands, and were unable to return to Palestine as of 1967 due to the Israeli occupation.
Dr. Abuznaid noted that the economic situation of the Palestinian community in the Netherlands is difficult, and this affects their ability to influence cultural and social communities in which they live. However, the affiliation of Netherlands Palestinian community to their home country, Palestine, is deeply embedded in their hearts wherever they are, he added.
Regarding the official Dutch stance towards the Palestinian issue, Abuznaid pointed out that his stand was passive at the beginning, as the Netherlands was the unofficial Israeli representative in the European Union. Now, the Dutch attitude towards the Palestinians has marked improvement, exemplified in the Dutch refraining from voting against the decision to grant Palestine the status of a non-member observer state at the United Nations.
Concerning the European position, Abuznaid noted that their stand is controversial in terms of its effectiveness in the conflict, as Europe and Israel have developed strong ties, which puts a question mark on Europe’s fair support to the Palestinians.
Moreover, ambassador Abuznaid has met with the Vice-President for Academic Affairs, wherein they discussed cooperation prospects between Birzeit University and Dutch universities.