Israel's Lieberman in Netherlands amid call to talk with Hamas

Israel's Lieberman in Netherlands amid call to talk with HamasAmsterdam - Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was due in the Netherlands Wednesday for meetings with his Dutch counterpart Maxime Verhagen, with Gaza, the deadlocked peace talks and Iran all on the agenda.

Lieberman also requested to meet with lawmakers of the foreign affairs committee.

The Dutch parliament is deeply divided over Israel's position towards the Palestinians, as well over Lieberman himself.

A majority supports Verhagen's refusal to talk to Hamas, which effectively rules the Gaza Strip, on grounds that it is a terrorist organization. But the opposition Socialist and Green parties, as well as Labour, the second largest coalition party, feel the Dutch should talk with Hamas.

On Tuesday, Labour member Martijn van Dam said he was surprised Verhagen agreed to an official meeting with Lieberman, while refusing to officially meet with the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader earlier this year.

Harry van Bommel and Mariko Peters, two lawmakers from the Socialist and Green parties respectively, said they would ask Lieberman to start talks with Hamas.

Also on Tuesday, two pro-Palestinian organizations, one Dutch-Jewish and one Dutch-Israeli, published a full-page advertisement in major national newspapers, requesting the government and parliament to starts talks with Hamas. (dpa)