Tuesday, January 17, 2012

17-Jan-12: Switzerland again: International parliamentary group says it erred in inviting Hamas

Inter-Parliamentary Union Secretariat in Geneva
There's a follow-up to our report ["15-Jan-12: Hamas, intolerance and Switzerland"] that a Hamas delegation has spent the last few days in Switzerland on an official visit, and will be received at the University of Geneva tomorrow.

Anders Johnsson, the secretary-general of the Swiss-based Inter-Parliamentary Union, is quoted in the Jerusalem Post this evening telling the speaker of the Knesset, Reuven Rivlin, that he plans to stand by a commitment he made to Rivlin to ban the terrorist organization:
He said he is sorry that the Palestinian delegation to the IPU took advantage of the [human rights] committee, but that the IPU itself had no contact with Hamas. In addition, Johnsson said that the committee rejected many of the Palestinians’ declarations in the meeting. The IPU secretary-general also said he would raise the issue with the Human Rights Committee’s management.
The JPost article is not the clearest of news reports, and there might still be misunderstandings here about what happened, and what's going to happen. We'll soon know.

Meanwhile the International Alliance Against Terrorism, a non-partisan group based in Paris that speaks in the name of terror victims from several countries (Algeria, Argentina, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Israel, Northern Ireland, the United States) issued a press release this evening that expresses dismay at the official Hamas visit to Switzerland. It focuses in particular on the University of Geneva's decision to allow the participation by Hamas spokesman Mushir Al Masri in a campus event due to take place tomorrow (Wednesday).

The IAAT statement says the Swiss readiness to receive Hamas
"...destroys the hope of a peaceful solution in the Middle East. We also fear it will only encourage the spreading of terrorism in a troubled world. Organizations so far fighting peacefully for their demands may well change their minds when they see that terror is rewarded and entitled to Swiss hospitality. Hoping all democratic organizations to join into this protest, we urge the Swiss Federal Government and Parliament to take into account the human rights of Hamas victims and their families who deserve justice and consideration, like all terror victims. We solemnly urge Geneva University to declare the representative of Hamas persona non grata at the meeting it is hosting."
For our part, we expressed our anger in a note to representatives of the Swiss Jewish community yesterday:
"When we permit the practitioners of terror to be received with respect as if the only differences between us are our political or religious or ideological opinions, then the terrorists have won. Terrorism - and Hamas is one of its purest practitioners - takes its exponents outside the framework of normal, civilized relations with the rest of the world. The terrorists knowingly and willfully place themselves outside. They have knowingly and willfully abandoned discussion and persuasion. Their tools are death and misery. We show respect for our democratic principles by shunning them, by totally rejecting what they wish for our societies.
I hope the authorities in your beautiful land will understand from your words how serious is the mistake they have made in allowing the official representatives of Hamas to walk on your nation's soil. The loss of innocent lives, like the life of my daughter Malki, is indeed a tragedy which deeply touched my family... In choosing to speak out against the terrorists in general, and against Hamas in particular, my wife and I made the decision that our loss must not be merely a private one but symbolic of something larger and less personal. The awful sight of men from Hamas walking freely and without interference in the center of democratic Europe, as if they were decent and civilized human beings, is a reminder that we have not yet succeeded in conveying this vitally important message."
As we have said on numerous occasions, so far the terrorists are winning.

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