Wednesday Nov 20, 201909:12 AM GMT
Israel expands influence in Bulgaria amid Palestinian bid for Statehood
Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:19AM
Ivaylo Spasov, Press TV, Sofia
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Concerts in the National Palace of Culture; large business delegations in Silistra; movies and literature retrospective in Plovdiv; Jewish culture exhibition in Sofia…

This sudden expansion of Israel's influence has raised suspicion in Bulgaria.

On the eve of the UN vote on the Palestinian bid for statehood, yet another Israeli envoy - the mayor of Tel Aviv - has arrived in Sofia, after prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently failed to gain the support of his Bulgarian counterpart.

In the heart of downtown Sofia, here - at Sofia Central Synagogue - behind closed doors, a rather controversial event is being held. It prompted criticism towards local authorities.

Bulgaria is actually hosting the first ever world meeting of Sephardic Jews. This was slammed as "untimely", "arrogant" and "harmful", as officials are paying tribute to Jews, while turning a blind eye to the Palestinian refugees who had been forcefully deprived of their land and homes.

Madbuh is one of the few ambassadors of the Palestine Authority to EU, as Bulgaria is among the few member states which have officially recognized Palestine.

But Israel's political, economic and cultural leverage on Bulgaria has been very extensive recently, and officials have hinted that they wouldn't support Palestinian UN bid for statehood.

Bulgaria has already recognized it once in 1988, and now it would be "immoral and legally unjustified" to vote against it; this prominent expert in Arab history tells Press TV, slamming as "political hypocrisy" any country's readiness to turn a blind eye to the deep humanitarian crisis under Israeli occupation.

For this university professor, the significant thing is not whether Palestine would become a UN member or obtain a non-member observer state status.

These people have gathered in solidarity with the Palestinians, to show that the public stands by their side, but politicians are those who allow the ongoing Israeli terror, as they put it. The UN created this mess in the first place, by dividing Palestine, so it's their highest duty now to fix this injustice, they urge.
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