Maariv: Foreign Ministry targeting Egyptian Consul for denying visas to Israeli academics
The claim: He systematically rejects Israeli requests of visas to Egypt
Eli Bardenstein, Maariv, May 18 2010 [Hebrew original here and at bottom of post]
The Israeli Foreign Ministry has launched a diplomatic campaign against the Egyptian foreign ministry because of the rejection of requests by Israeli researchers for visas to participate in international conferences in Egypt.
The campaign focuses on the Egyptian consul, Sameh Nabil. The Foreign Ministry believes that in the last months he has been working to reject requests by renowned Israeli researchers for visas to Egypt, acts arrogantly and is unduly strict with Israelis. The Foreign Ministry claims that the Egyptian consulate officials in Tel Aviv who receive the public treat applicants disrespectfully, refrain from asking them the questions necessary to receive visas, and sometimes reject their applications for ridiculous reasons like diacritical marks. The results of the researchers’ absence from those conferences is a diminishment of Israeli presence in the international arena.
Egypt explained that the background for the rejection of the applications is the public opinion in their country that is hostile to Israeli citizens, and the threat by the trade unions to boycott international conferences if Israeli researchers attend them.
Israel claims also that the Egyptian intelligence bodies are in charge of managing relationship between the countries, that everything goes through them and that they do not make the job easy.
“So many years have gone by since signing the peace agreement but public opinion in Egypt continues to be against Israel,” said a political source. “It is very hard to change things. Even among the elite there is a feeling that the relationship is at a standstill. There may be a dialogue between the offices of President Mubarak and Prime Minister Netanyahu about the peace process, Gaza and the treatment of Hamas and Hezbollah, but on issues that are not related to security or the diplomatic process, peace is only a slogan. The rejection of requests for visas is just one example that represents the cold peace between the countries.”
The Egyptian embassy did not respond to the Israeli charges.