|Mushir al-Masri, unwanted visitor to Bulgaria, puts on a show of spite, spit,|
blood-curdling threats and Islamist hatred at a women's rally
in Gaza, March 2012. Check it out.
asked three lawmakers from the Palestinian Hamas party to leave the country, after they arrived at the invitation of an NGO. Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said on Friday that the lawmakers had entered the country with regular visas "issued, however, on different motives from what they have demonstrated here." He said they had left the country. [AP]AFP's report gives us a touch more colour:
Bulgarian security service agents "entered the hotel rooms of the three deputies early on Friday morning and drove them to the airport," said Mohd Abuasi of the Centre for Middle East Studies [the head of the organisation that invited them]. He said they then left for Istanbul. [AFP]The European-funded pro-PLO newsagency Maan says the organization's name is Center for Global and Middle East Studies. It quotes the center's head, Mohammed Abu Assi, saying that the purpose of the Hamas visit was to "improve Bulgaria's image in the Arab world" after the country's government "made a blunder" by blaming Hezbollah for the 2012 bus bombing. AP however says the invitation was made to the representatives of one of the world's most lethal and active collectives of child-murderers:
to show that Bulgaria "is not a completely pro-Israeli country." [AP]Abu Assi's "center" has a reputation for being a proponent of support for Hezbollah and Hamas.
There is tumult, fury and great gnashing of teeth in Gaza. Maan is reporting at this hour that:
The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip on Friday condemned Bulgaria's expulsion of a party delegation visiting the country, blaming Israeli pressure for the move. Bulgarian security forces on Friday raided the hotel rooms of a visiting Hamas delegation, ordering them to leave the country, a party statement said. "We condemn this act, which reflects the scale of compliance with Zionist pressures," government spokesman Taher al-Nunu said. Hamas leader and MP Yahya al-Abadseh said the Bulgarian government's actions were contrary to all diplomatic norms, and that the move highlighted the huge pressure the Palestinian leadership is under. Parliament chairman Ahmad Bahar called for Bulgaria to offer a formal apology, saying the visiting deputies were protected by parliamentary immunity. The visit was lauded by Hamas as a sign the party was being increasingly welcomed across Europe, while prompting clarifications from Bulgaria that the government had not invited the representatives.In the Jerusalem Post, a report authored by Khaled Abu Toameh and Benjamin Weinthal gives some additional context. What the AP calls a request from the Bulgarian government that the Hamas gentlemen leave is better described as
Bulgarian security forces on Friday raided the temporary residences of a visiting Hamas delegation in Sofia, and then expelled the officials from the country... The Hamas delegation arrived in Bulgaria on Wednesday to present the “Palestinian narrative and expose the false Israeli narrative on the Palestinians and Hamas.” The visit was the first of its kind by Hamas officials to a member of the EU. [Jerusalem Post]The Jerusalem Post names the Hamas men as Ismail al-Ashkar, head of its parliamentary list; and "legislators" Salah Bardaweel and Mushir al-Masri. The latter is a clansman of another al-Masri who entered Jerusalem's Sbarro restaurant on August 9, 2001, walked up to the counter and exploded the guitar case on his back. That bomb caused the deaths of 15 Jews, most of them children - which was the plan - and injured more than 130 others. We have written a great deal about that bombing since it cost us the life of our fifteen year-old daughter Malki.
Mushir al-Masri long ago made clear his personal commitment to acts of terrorism like the Sbarro massacre that was carried out by his cousin and with the explicit blessing and organizational input of Hamas. Note his comments quoted (in a 2006 backgrounder called "Hamas Essentials") by the estimable team at CAMERA:
We have come here to say that the weapons of the resistance that you see here will remain, Allah willing, so that we can liberate Palestine - all of Palestine - from the Sea to the River, whether they like it or not.He is seen wagging his finger, shrieking with hate-filled passion and foaming at the mouth (check and see if we're right) in a YouTube video from which the screenshot at the top of this post is taken. He's quite the diplomat, with his well-matched suit and civilized-looking tie but his public speeches exemplify racist hatred and incitement, Islamist-style. This, unfortunately, did not prevent the Swiss authorities from allowing him to come t Geneva a year ago as the head of a Hamas "parliamentary" delegation and to be received as an honoured guest at the University of Geneva. We blogged about this ["17-Jan-12: Switzerland again: International parliamentary group says it erred in inviting Hamas"] when it happened.
Bulgarian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Vessela Tcherneva quietly explained to the Jerusalem Post yesterday (Thursday), before this morning's raid, that “Bulgaria is part of the EU politics as listing Hamas as a terror organization... [and the Hamas men were] on a private visitation of an NGO” in Sofia. Bulgaria could certainly teach some of the longer-standing members of the EU what it means to stand up for democratically-decided policies as well as decent, life-affirming, human values.
It's deeply satisfying to know that the Hamas 'visitation' is over and the Islamist visitors are now in Turkey doing some self-examination.