The Dutch government on Monday ruled out a visit by Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, saying he will not get a visa because the European Union considers his Hamas party a terrorist group.
Haniyeh’s office contacted the Dutch government to enquire about documents needed to request a visa as the Palestinian premier wanted to attend a conference on the Palestinians and Europe in Rotterdam on May 5, a spokesman for the Dutch Foreign Ministry said.
“He will not be granted a visa, should he request one officially,” the spokesman said. “Hamas is considered a terrorist organisation by the European Union.”
“It is consistent not only to avoid contact with Hamas ministers but also not to let them come to the Netherlands or anywhere else in Europe and spread the message of Hamas,” he added.
The European Union has a policy of avoiding contacts with Hamas ministers.
Dutch media reported that Haniyeh had been invited to be the main speaker at a Palestinian-European conference organised by the Dutch-based Palestine Platform for Human Rights and Solidarity.
Hamas formed a new national unity government with the secular Fatah faction last month. Western powers, including the EU, boycotted the former Hamas-led administration due to the Islamic movement’s refusal to recognise Israel or renounce violence.