(photo credit: Reuters)
Hamas officials who arrived in Bulgaria on Wednesday said they came to present
the “Palestinian narrative and expose the false Israeli narrative on the
Palestinians and Hamas.”
The visit is the first of its kind by Hamas
officials to a member of the EU.
Ismail al-Ashkar, head of the Hamas
parliamentary list, Change and Reform, headed the delegation. Hamas legislators
Salah Bardaweel and Mushir al-Masri, who is also a spokesman for the Islamist
movement in the Gaza Strip, accompanied him.
The three Hamas officials
arrived in Bulgaria at the invitation of the Center for International and Middle
East Studies, sources close to the movement said.
Bardaweel said the
visit to Bulgaria was significant “because Hamas had been denied the opportunity
to express the views of its people from this important podium for political
reasons.” He did not say whether he and his colleagues had plans to meet with
government officials during their visit to Bulgaria.
said the Hamas delegation was planning to talk about the IDF’s arrest of Hamas
legislators in the West Bank and the blockade on the Gaza Strip.
that he and his friends were also planning to hold meetings with members of the
Bulgarian parliament, as well as representatives of various political parties
and the media.
Bardaweel praised the Bulgarian authorities for
facilitating the Hamas delegation’s visit and providing it with an opportunity
to present the “Palestinian narrative” to the Europeans.