Israeli Foreign Minister’s visit not welcomed by all
Various Dutch organisations say Avigdor Lieberman is an extremist who has made racist remarks about the Palestinians and renew calls to open talks with the Hamas.The Hague – Far-right Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s visit to the Netherlands Wednesday has been opposed by various Dutch organisations.
Labour Party MP Martijn van Dam, who is against the Dutch government policy on Israel and Palestinians, said Lieberman has repeatedly made racist remarks about the Palestinians.
The Israeli foreign minister heads the ultranationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party.
Van Dam also criticised Christian Democrat Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen for being willing to offer a welcome to the controversial Israeli minister, but turned down an official visit from the Dalai Lama earlier this year.
The Labour MP also equated talking to Lieberman with talking to the radical Palestinian group Hamas, a step the government refuses to take.
“I think it’s always good to talk with all the parties that are involved in the conflict in the Middle East. Even the most extreme parties like Hamas and Avigdor Lieberman. So it’s ok to talk with them. I hope the talks can help to bring a solution closer", said van Dam.
Other groups who share the same view are Harry de Winter. The film and TV producer is one of the 500 prominent Dutch people who signed a petition calling for the Dutch government to reverse its policy and open talks with the radical Palestinian movement, Hamas.
In their view, if one talks to extremists on one side, one should talk to extremists on the other side, as well.
De Winter who is also co-founder of the group A Different Jewish Voice said Lieberman deserves the comparison.
“He is democratically elected in Israel, but he is a pure racist who wants to get rid of even the Arab population living inside Israel. He said if they want a Palestinian state let them go to Jordan or Lebanon. This guy is an ultra right-wing racist, so, if anybody really thinks about it they would not have him officially received by our government.”
The other coalition parties, the Christian Democrats and the Christian Union, categorically reject the comparison.
“I think the comparison between Lieberman and talking to Hamas is completely insane because we’re speaking about a democratically elected party leader in comparison with a terrorist organisation which came to power by violence and killing. So I think that’s a completely insane comparison,” said Christian Union MP Joël Voordewind.
Both parties said it was only logical that Verhagen should receive a democratically foreign counterpart. They also claim that since his election Lieberman has become more moderate.
Lieberman is in the Netherlands to confirm the long-standing friendship between the Netherlands and Israel. The foreign minister will also thank the Dutch government for voting against sending the Goldstone report to the United Nations Security Council.
South African Justice Richard Goldstone conducted an investigation in the 2008 conflict in the Gaza Strip. Goldstone concluded the Palestinians in Gaza and the Israeli army of having committed war crimes – a report that was disputed by Israel.
Israel’s claims that t the report has an anti-Israeli bias has been supported by the Dutch government who voted to block the report in the Human Rights Council.
Radio Netherlands / Expatica