Sweden and France Find a Bureaucratic Exit

Last week we reported on a double-barreled insult to Israel from Sweden. First there was Sweden’s decision to withdraw from the military exercises in Sardinia because of Israel’s presence. That seems to be the case still.

However, the other insult — Sweden’s willingness to grant a visa to Salah Al-Bardaweel, a Hamas terrorist — has been resolved. Mr. Bardaweel wanted to participate in a Palestinian Authority delegation invited to Malmö by Arab Muslims. Initially, Sweden agreed to include him.

Now that has changed.

When the story of the visa permit first broke, The Jerusalem Post reported Israel’s anger:

After his country first said it would issue the visas, Sweden’s Ambassador to Israel Robert Rydberg was called to the Israeli Foreign Ministry to provide an explanation for the controversial move. The ambassador said that, at the time of the meeting, the visas had not yet been issued, but that even if they would be approved there would be no high-level meetings between Sweden and the Hamas officials.

You know, diplomats are usually more coherent than this. Mr. Rydberg must have been caught off guard at Israel’s direct approach to the insult. Or perhaps Sweden saw nothing wrong with issuing a visa to a terrorist as though he were any other visitor. In any event, there was a scramble, and now Sweden has a new position on the affair:

Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson announced a ban today on a Hamas representative of the Palestinian Authority from visiting his country. The reason for his decision, the prime minister emphasized, is a European decision accepted by 15 countries known as Schengen Agreement labeling Hamas a terrorist organization.

Don’t you wonder who did the research to dig up that agreement? Considering that it dates back to 1995, it would be interesting to know how often it has been used. Obviously, in the case of Arafat, the non-terrorist PLO leader, these rules didn’t apply. Otherwise he would have had to die at home like everyone else.

France is also invoking the Schengen Agreement as its reason for refusing Mr. Bardaweel a visa. Norway, on the other hand, while also a signer of this pact, doesn’t think it applies since the terrorist won’t be meeting with any government officials. Now there’s some Jesuitical reasoning for you.

Fjordman, can you explain this for us?

One thought on “Sweden and France Find a Bureaucratic Exit

  1. As I noited at my blog recently when I compared Reuters with France, the French have been fairly clear that they are denying the visa because the EU, as a whole, hsa declare Hamas to be a terrorist organization.

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