Archive for May, 2006

Double-dealing or mere incompetence?

Friday, May 5th, 2006

It appears that either Sweden or Hamas has been engaging in some rather astute double-dealing over the past few days. While the media spotlights were focusing on the impending visit of Mr Salah Muhammed al Bardawil of the terror-branded Hamas organisation, attention was being drawn away from the person whose entry into Sweden was higher on the Hamas list of priorities. His name is Atef Adwan.

On Friday 5 May he’ll be in Sweden. The Hamas minister, representing a terror organisation that demands the eradication of Israel, received his entry visa into Sweden on Israel’s 58th Independence Day.

Background:
Mr Atef Adwan, Refugee Minister in the Hamas government
Previously assistant to terror-branded Gaza Islamist Sheikh Ahmed Yassin; wrote Yassin’s biography
Captured by Israel in 1992, deported to Lebanon
In Lebanon he was trained by Hizbullah ahead of his return to Gaza in conjunction with Yasser Arafat’s takeover of the Palestinian Authority (PA)

All the indications are that Atef Adwan’s name was sneaked in without any reference to his ministerial position among a hundred or so names of civilian Palestinians applying for visas to Sweden at the Swedish consulate in Jerusalem. His Swedish entry visa was granted for a civilian visitor. Whether this roundabout procedure was coordinated with the Swedish authorities in Jerusalem or was in fact sanctioned all the way from the Foreign Office in Stockholm cannot at present be verified.

Schengen visa – despite a very public “no” from Sweden
A phone call to the Swedish Foreign Office revealed that Mr Adwan was granted a Schengen visa, although Sweden firmly stated that she would not issue any such visa to Hamas representatives, in line with the pan-Schengen decision following France’s denial of visas for Hamas representatives.

The question is how the visa application slipped past Austria, which holds the chair at present, if Mr Adwan’s official ministerial position as a Hamas representative was specified on his visa application. And if he concealed this, exactly which paragraph of the immigration law he will be contravening when he steps off the plane and touches Swedish soil?

Who pulls the strings?
There is some reason to believe that the Swedish government may have been rather economical with the truth by assisting Mr Adwan to his visa in this rather roundabout manner. Either that, or Swedish Prime Minister is not fully in charge of his cabinet, with a Foreign Office setting its own agenda in defiance of its PM, since the premier was extremely adamant in his recent statement that his government would never contravene the Schengen agreement. Another possibility is that both the Prime Minister and his Foreign Minister are in agreement on this issue of international principle, but that the Swedish consulate in Jerusalem either colluded with Hamas or failed to do an adequate job of checking the identity of so prominent a member of the Hamas government.

Palestine to be built in place of Israel
On Friday, Mr Atef Adwan will talk in Malmö, Sweden, about the Palestinian demand for mass immigration into Israel. This despite the Palestinian declaration – for Western consumption – that they merely want a sovereign Palestinian state alongside Israel. It would appear that the term “alongside Israel” is a synonym for “instead of Israel”, because it is hard to imagine how one could otherwise explain a struggle for national independence from Israel by a demand to colonise the very Israeli state from which one demands independence. The minister is coming to Sweden to talk about exactly that – despite the terms of the visa agreement and despite the Swedish government’s public denials.

There are a lot of questions that need answering. One question is what happens next? The answer was provided the very day after it became public that Sweden had broken ranks with the rest of Europe: France, which had taken a tough stance on refusing entry to other Hamas representatives just a few days previously, accused Sweden of undermining the Schengen customs and immigration signatory countries by granting Mr Adwan a visa – he now has full access to all Schengen member states in the wake of Sweden’s about-turn.

The Swedish government is going to have a hard time explaining itself.