Below is the text of the speech given today in Tel Aviv by Geert Wilders. Update: Thanks to Brian of London for the photo.
Let me start by saying that it is with great sadness that I share your grief over the deaths of more than 40 brave Israelis who lost their lives — many while trying to save others in the great fire near Haifa. My country, the Netherlands, is amongst other countries helping to put down this fire, which is threatening the lives and property of thousands of your compatriots. I offer my heartfelt condolences to the families of those who perished. My thoughts are with them.
Israel is an immense source of inspiration for me. When I came to your country for the first time as a teenager, I lived here for a year.
I am not ashamed to stand with Israel, but proud. I am grateful to Israel. I will always defend Israel. Your country is the cradle of Western civilization. We call it the Judeo-Christian civilization with good reason.
Israel is often being treated unfairly. The world looks at the plight of the Palestinians in refugee camps in Lebanon, Gaza, and other places, and many blame Israel. The UN claims that there are over 4.7 million Palestinian refugees, and many blame Israel. These voices say the Palestinians should be allowed to return to “Palestine.” But where is Palestine? Many say Israel must solve the problems of Palestine. But is Israel guilty of the plight of the Palestinian refugees?
My answer is “No.” The Arab leaders are to be blamed — and Islam is to be blamed. Let me first tell you why, and then I will tell you where Palestine can be found.
At the end of World War II, there were 50 million refugees. Today, all the refugee problems dating from before the 1950s have been solved. All, except one — the problem of the Palestinians.
Why did this problem not get solved? The reason is simple: Because the Arab countries did not allow it to get solved. And because Islam does not allow it to get solved.
In May 1948, the number of Jews in the Arab countries was estimated to be close to 1 million. Today, fewer than 8,000 Jews are left in the entire Arab world. In 1948, the Arab countries forced the Jews out and confiscated their properties. More Jews fled the Arab countries than Arabs fled Israel. Where are the Jewish refugee camps? There are none.