Key Dutch party: Sanctions against Israel if it thwarts peace

By Cnaan Liphshiz, Haaretz Correspondent

The Netherlands must impose economic sanctions against Israel if the new government in Jerusalem thwarts the peace process with the Palestinians, the Dutch Labor party said last week.

Members of Labor, which is a member of 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 CDA party, who is largely seen as a staunch supporter of Israel.

In an interview for Radio 1, Labor’s Martijn van Dam said his party insisted that Verhagen and the European Union take “concrete” action that demands Israel accept Hamas as a partner for dialog. Van Dam also lamented the Netherlands and the European Union’s 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 Maxim Verhagen.”

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

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