Cabinet divided on visa for Palestinian pm

The government is divided on whether to give the Palestine prime minister Ismail Haniyeh a visa to attend a conference in Rotterdam in what appears to be the first crack in the three-party coalition.

The Christian Democrats (CDA) and ChristenUnie (CU)are against granting the Hamas politician a visa while Labour is willing to allow Haniyeh entry to the Netherlands in his capacity as Palestinian prime minister, reports ANP news agency.
Haniyeh has not yet made a visa application, but should he do so, it must be rejected, said foreign Affairs minister Maxime Verhagen (CDA). Hamas is on the European list of terrorist organisations and the Palestinian government does not recognise the state of Israel.
But Labour MP Martijn van Dam said that there would be no harm in talking to the Hamas politician. ‘If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy,’ he said quoting Nelson Mandela.
Haniyeh has been invited to talk about the plight of Palestinian refugees at a meeting in Rotterdam on May 5, Liberation Day. CU MP Joel Voordewind said the date was ‘extremely inappropriate’ for such a visit.

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