President Peres on state visit to the Netherlands

President Peres on state visit to the Netherlands

    The President will address the Dutch Parliament, hold a press conference with Dutch Prime Minister, and be the guest of honor at a state dinner attended by members of of the royal family and the political leadership.
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    President Peres visits Anne Frank House in Amsterdam President Peres visits Anne Frank House in Amsterdam Copyright: GPO/Amos Ben Gershom
    President Peres visits Anne Frank House in Amsterdam (Photo: GPO/Amos Ben Gershom)
    (Communicated by the Office of the President)

    President Shimon Peres left on Sunday morning, Sept 29, 2013 for an official visit to Holland as the guest of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander. 

    During the visit he will meet with justices of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague, headed by ICF President Judge Peter Tomka. President Peres will present the importance attached by the State of Israel to uphold international law and the role of the International Court of Justice in dispute resolution and mediation between states through peaceful means and dialogue. The President will also present to them how Israel confronts the threats of terrorism and state-sponsored terrorism, as well as changes and developments in the Middle East.

    On Tuesday (October 1) President Peres will address the Dutch Parliament, where he will stress the importance of European involvement in international operations against the Iranian nuclear race, tensions in Syria and the disarmament of its chemical weapons, and European support in promoting the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

    The President will meet with the new Dutch King, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, in Noordeinde Palace in The Hague. He will be received in a official welcome ceremony which will include review of the honor guard, signing the royal guest book, a political meeting with the King and a state dinner with the participation of political leaders of the Netherlands adn members of the royal family, including former Queen, now Princess Beatrix. President Peres will be the first head of state received by the new Dutch King who assumed the throne on April 30, 2013.

    In addition, the President will hold a working meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte followed by a joint press conference in which the president will address the Iranian nuclear issue, the situation in Syria and political and economic relations between Israel and the Netherlands - this in light of the leading role played by the Dutch government in actions to exclude products produced in the Israeli settlements from the free trade agreement between Israel and the EU.

    The President will also use his visit to strengthen ties with the Diaspora. He will be the guest of honor and will speak at a festive event of the Jewish community to be held in the Old Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam (Sunday), and lay a wreath at the Hollandsche Schouwborg monument to victims of the Holocaust with survivors from the Jewish community.

    President Peres began his visit in the Netherlands with an historic visit to Anne Frank's house, a symbol of Holocaust remembrance in the Netherlands and across the world. During the visit President Peres examined unique original pages from Anne Frank's diary and was presented with an original photo album Anne Frank compiled during her time hiding in the annex.
    In a rare moment President Peres was shown original pages from Anne Frank's diary, the photo album and the first letter written by her father upon his release from Auschwitz – items usually kept under strict control in the archives. President Peres, who wore special protective gloves, held the photo album in his hands, looked through the photographs and said, "Anne Frank's message should especially resonate today. Her legacy is not just remembrance of the Holocaust but a living testimony that no-one in the world can ignore  - a ray of light and an honest voice in a darkened world."

    President Peres continued and said, "As I begin my visit to the Netherlands today I cannot ignore what is happening around us and say in a clear voice that Anne Frank's warning stands before us today. I doubt whether Assad read Anne Frank's diary, when he didn't hesitate to use chemical weapons to murder innocent women and children. It serves as a warning to us all against a tyrant who uses chemical weapons to murder children and against attempts to develop nuclear weapons for mass destruction." President Peres concluded and said, "Anne, your voice which rings in our ears today, will forever remind the Jewish people and the world of the victory of light over darkness."
    During the visit by President Peres, Anne Frank's house unveiled, for the first time to the public, original copies of two letters in German sent by the sole survivor of the Frank family, Otto Frank, who was rescued from Auschwitz. The letters, written in February 1945, are to his mother and were sent only a month after his liberation from the death camp by the Russians. The letter shows that even in the final days of the war Mr. Frank continued to do everything he could to protect his family and to believe that they will survive despite the tragic situation. The letters are part of a collection given to Anne Frank's house by the American actor, Joseph Schildkraut.