13 April 2009

Lieberman a Racist? Dutch Say Almost

Lieberman on the brink of racism

The Netherlands' Labor party says economic sanctions must be imposed on Israel if its new government thwarts the peace process with Palestinians.

Members of the Dutch Labor party, which are part of the government as the country's second largest party, said they intended to write a manifesto on the matter to the foreign minister, Maxime Verhagen, from the centrist ruling Christian-Democratic Appeal (CDA) party, who is largely seen as a staunch supporter of Israel.

In an interview for Radio 1, Labor's Martin van Dam said his party insisted that Verhagen and the European Union take 'concrete' action including a call on Israel to accept Hamas as a partner for dialog. Van Dam also criticized Netherlands and the European Union for their decision to blacklist Hamas.

Van Dam went on to call Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman 'an extremist who is on the brink of racism', adding: "This is not a government with much prospect for peace."

Responding to calming statements attributed to Verhagen concerning Benjamin Netanyahu's new government, van Dam said: "The only one who thinks that the positions of the [new] Israeli government will not have any consequences is Maxime Verhagen."

Discussions on the matter between the cabinet and Labor's representatives in parliament are expected to continue this week.