Dutch Minister: Arabs Need to Learn More About Holocaust, Jews Need to Study Palestinian 'Nakba'

Jewish group says there have been at least four attacks on synagogues since start of Israel's Gaza op.

In a call to include Muslims in Holland's Auschwitz memorial event, the Dutch integration minister on Thursday said that Arabs needed to learn about the Holocaust and that Jews need "better understand" the Naqba. The Moroccan-Dutch community said its members will attend the memorial.

Minister Eberhard van der Laan from the Dutch Labor party is quoted as telling local media that "just as Arabs should acknowledge the Holocaust, so must Jews understand what the Nakba means for Palestinians," adding: "There is suffering on both sides."

He also said that the "problems in Gaza served to agitate hatred between Jews and Arabs," and that this problem "must not be allowed to be imported."

On Friday, the coordinating body for Moroccan and Muslim associations in the Netherlands announced it will be sending members to participate for the first time in Sunday's remembrance event for Holocaust victims at Amsterdam's Auschwitz memorial site.

Last week, the committee arranging the annual event dis-invited a Dutch member of Parliament from the Socialist Party, Harry van Bommel, after he was filmed attending a demonstration against Israel's actions in Gaza where a crowd was chanting "Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the Gas."

The Moroccan community's announcement came after Dutch prime minister met with Jewish leaders, who told him they were concerned about a reported rise in anti-Semitism in Holland following Israel's Operation Cast Lead. The community leaders asked the prime minister for more protection for Jewish institutions and facilities.

Balkenende later met with Muslim leaders on Friday in an apparent effort to revive Jewish-Muslim dialogue following Operation Cast Lead.

The Dutch Jewish community has taken its concerns over a series of apparent anti-Semitic attacks to the prime minister, asking for better security.

Ronny Naftaniel of the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel says there have been at least four attacks on synagogues since Israel began its three-week offensive against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip in late December.

He says that so far no one has been hurt and damage has been minimal, but anti-Israel demonstrations during the Gaza operation were marred by anti-Semitic slogans. One was attended by a leftist member of parliament.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende met Muslim leaders Friday and Jewish leaders Thursday night in an apparent effort to revive Jewish-Muslim dialogue.