Tx to the tip to: Suiza, alguna vez refugio del nazismo, amparada en su supuesta neutralidad, ahora cómplices del terrorismo de Hamás
Mahmoud al-Zahar, a top Hamas leader, has visited Switzerland, much to Israeli anger. – swissinfo
Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey has confirmed controversial talks took place with a top leader of the Palestinian Islamic movement, Hamas.It comes after Israel strongly criticised a reported meeting in Geneva two weeks ago between diplomats and Mahmoud al-Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas and leader in the Gaza Strip.
“Hamas is an important political actor and must not be left out in discussions over a solution to the Middle East conflict,” Calmy-Rey told public radio on Wednesday.
She said Switzerland, unlike the European Union, did not consider Hamas a “terrorist organisation”, but condemned any terrorist activities.
Calmy-Rey gave no details of the meetings, but the Israeli ambassador to Switzerland has been invited to the foreign ministry on Thursday.
The Israeli embassy demanded an explanation as to why Switzerland gave the Palestinian delegation, apparently on a tour of several European countries, an entry visa.
“By officially receiving a Hamas delegation, Switzerland is not in line with those who advocate moderation,” an embassy statement said.
EJP | News | Western Europe | Israel slams Switzerland over Hamas meeting
Relations between Switzerland and Israel have been strained in recent months after Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz received Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in April at the “Durban II” UN anti-racism conference in Geneva.
The Iranian president has triggered outrage with his repeated calls for Israel to be “wiped off the map” and his questioning of the extent of the Holocaust.
Shortly after the meeting Israel recalled its ambassador, Ilan Elgar, for consultation and to express the Jewish state’s displeasure over the meeting.
As Switzerland is a neutral country, its diplomats argue they must keep communication channels open with all parties.
But there is more:
Switzerland continues to dismay Israel, as its Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey told Swiss RSR Radio on Wednesday that while she recognizes there are terrorists, Switzerland does not have a list of terrorist organizations because it believes that while a person can be called a terrorist, an organization cannot.
Why an organization can’t be called terrorist (just as they can be called criminal) is beyond my comprehension. Swiss FM has not (to my knowledge) told those reasons.
More comments about this in Israpundit: Israel furious over Hamas leader’s trip to Switzerland. I wonder why this has had so little publicity.
*Swiss system is one of the toughest when regarding naturalization of foreigners. You must have no criminal record to apply for it. I guess they would never accept a Hamas terrorist in their country and yet they are having talks with them. Absolutely striking…
Tags Technorati: Switzerland, Hamas, Micheline Calmy-Rey, Mahmoud al-Zahar, Islamism, Hans-Rudolf Merz, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Durban II, Geneva, Iran, Ilan Elgar,