Condemning Israel's Actions "Pointless": Dutch PM
Israel's offensive against Gaza can't be condemned as long as Hamas continues firing rockets, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said Sunday, while urging both parties to end the violence, AFP reported.
"Condemning Israel is pointless because both parties have to be addressed," he said in an interview with Dutch television.
"As long as the rocket attacks continue, Israel will always say 'we cannot accept this', and I understand that."
Several nations have described Israel's latest offensive on Gaza as disproportionate and warned it would hamper diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict.
"It is always regrettable when there are civilian casualties. But at the same time, I see Hamas continuously firing rockets on Israel," Balkenende said.
He said he hoped for a ceasefire as soon as possible, for humanitarian aid to be allowed to reach Gaza, and for "work towards a peace process, however difficult that might be," he said.
"It is essential that both parties renounce violence...but then it is also essential that Hamas stops firing rockets because it isn't acceptable that Israel finds itself in a sphere of threat."