Israeli media is reporting on the arrival in Bulgaria of three Hamas representatives who met with the opposition Socialist Party. According to a Jerusalem Post report:
02/17/2013 The arrival of three Hamas representatives in Bulgaria last week – believed to have obtained their visas in Cairo – and their forced on Friday after less than 48 hours on EU territory appears to have caught Bulgarian authorities and politicians off guard. After the European Union largely aligned itself with Israel’s right to respond to rocket attacks from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip during November’s Pillar of Defense operation, the status of Hamas as an anti-peace political pariah among a majority of Western liberal democracies is still intact, although the terrorist organization continues to crave political legitimacy. Bulgaria has quickly internalized the Hamas security threat. During their stay in Bulgaria we obtained information that their presence was creating a serious threat to national security,’ Bulgaria’s National Services domestic intelligence agency said in a statement on Friday. The hello-goodbye Hamas affair coincides with a swirl of debate over Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov’s report attributing the Burgas bus explosion to Hezbollah operatives, which resulted in the deaths of five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver in July. Tsvetanov announced the two suspected Burgas perpetrators ‘were members of the militant wing of Hezbollah,’ and added that investigators have found information ‘showing the financing and connection between Hezbollah and the two suspects.’ The EU’s foreign ministers are slated to discuss the Bulgarian report on Monday, along with the possibility of designating Hezbollah a terror organization. After the 27-member body labeled Hamas a terror entity in 2003, it was tasked with guarding against Hamas visits to Europe and political relations with the radical Sunni group in Gaza. The EU’s political and diplomatic isolation of Hamas has largely been a 10- year success story. In 2010 the German government denied a visa to Hamas legislator Dr. Aziz Dweik, slated to speak at the eighth annual Palestinians in Europe Conference in Berlin. Dweik, also known as Abu Hashem, became speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council in January 2006. He was incarcerated in Israel in June 2006 because of his membership in a terrorist organization, and was released in 2009. All of this helps to explain the perplexed and bizarre reactions to the Hamas visit in Sofia and the failure to swiftly block access of Hamas into Bulgaria.
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The Hamas charter states that it is ” is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine” and an early media report indicated that shortly after Hamas took over the Gaza strip, Muslim Brotherhood representatives were present to review Hamas military formations . In 2007, a Hamas journalist acknowledged the role that the “international Muslim Brotherhood” has played in providing funds for the purchase of weapons and in 2008, an Israeli TV station reported that Muslim Brotherhood “representatives” had traveled to Gaza from Egypt through the open border to meet with Hamas. Hamas is supported financially and politically by the global Muslim Brotherhood and a NEFA Foundation report has documented the Hamas fund-raising activities of the Union of Good, a coalition of Islamic charities linked to the Brotherhood that provides financial support to both the Hamas “social” infrastructure, as well as its terrorist activities. Previous posts have also discussed the worldwide campaign orchestrated by the global Brotherhood against Israeli actions in Gaza during the 2008-2009 conflict with Israel.