by Lady Michelle-Jennifer Santos, Chief Visionary Founder & Owner
May 16, 2014 (TSR) – Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday said Israeli embassy negligence costed the barring President Shimon Peres’s airplane to pass through their airspace.
The president was en route to his first official state visit in Norway, at the invitation of His Majesty King Harald V and the Norwegian government. Peres was in a private jet, owned by the company Kishrev Teufa, when he hit problems over the Baltic Sea on Sunday.
“The Israeli embassy in Sweden did not submit any paperwork and applied for clearance permission at all to the Sjöfartsverket (Swedish Maritime Authority),” says Anna Buhré Kervefors, head of Press at the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a phone interview to The Santos Republic.
Haaretz reported that President Shimon Peres’ plane was held over the Baltic Sea because the Swedish air authorities “refused to grant” the aircraft permission to enter its airspace, “forcing pilots into a holding pattern” until they were rerouted through Denmark’s airspace.
The rerouting caused Peres to arrive 50 minutes late to his official reception in Norway, the Israeli mainstream media reported.
The fingerpointing and propaganda proliferated.
The President’s Office accused the Swedes of negligence, while the senior officials at the Israeli Foreign Ministry pointed the finger at the President’s Office and Kishrey Teufa, the private company responsible for the president’s travel arrangement on the trip.
Social media sites like Facebook was filled with anti-Sweden sentiments. Times of Israel even went as far as calling Sweden as “airspace mafia” in their headline title.
However, facts show that neither the office of President Peres and the Israeli Foreign Ministry knew nor followed proper international protocols.
According to the reports, it was the private tourism company Kishrey Teufa who filed the requests for permission for the plane to traverse the airspace of all the countries through which they were flying.
But upon entry to European airspace, Bulgaria, the first country they passed through, denied the request and unwilling to approve the private company’s request.
Sweden have and exercised their own protocols as well.
According to Haaretz, when the president’s rented private jet was flying across Polish airspace on Sunday, and was 15 minutes away to Sweden, the pilots contacted the country’s air traffic control authorities to request permission to enter.
However, the pilots were told that the Swedish authorities had no prior knowledge of clearance, and thus, refused them entry.
From the plane, Peres’s advisers scrambled to solve the problem through the Foreign Ministry and Isaac Bachman, Israel’s ambassador in Sweden, to no avail, Haaretz reported.
“When we were notified that it was Israeli President Shimon Peres, we waived the protocol and just gave immediate authorization to the Swedish Armed Forces to allow his plane,” Buhré Kervefors refuted.
Asking on the time it took to resolve the issue, Buhré Kervefors clarified that the Swedish Foreign Ministry response was quite swift since the identity of the president and his aircraft was confirmed quite quickly.
“It didn’t take a long time. Within about 20 minutes or so, we gave them clearance, but the pilots already gained approval to fly through Danish airspace,” she said.A spokesperson at the President Peres’ Office claims that it was a technical problem and insisted that Sweden had given them prior approval, according to Jewish Chronicle.
The spokesperson also said that the Shin Bet, the Israel Security Agency (ISA), verified that all permissions had been granted by Sweden beforehand, and claims that the permission was later revoked for unknown reasons, according to the Middle East Monitor report.
Senior officials at the Swedish Foreign Ministry underlined that the Israeli embassy is the one who needs to make the application to the Swedish Maritime Authority, not the tourism company. Since nothing was submitted, there was nothing to revoke.
The Sjöfartsverket (Swedish Maritime Authority) handles all maritime traffic information and pilotage applications. Then the Swedish Armed Forces reinforces it. This is the Swedish government protocol. The Israeli side did not follow it. Plain and simple.
In fact, to appease the situation, the Swedish Foreign Ministry granted President Peres a free return passage through their airspace.
“Since they already resolved the issue, as courtesy, we told the pilots that we are allowing them to pass through our airspace upon their return trip,” she added.
The Santos Republic also tried to speak directly with Ambassador Isaac Bachman the last couple of days to find out his side of the story, to no avail.
Isaac Bachman, former Chief of Policy Staff to the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, has been serving as Israel’s Ambassador to Sweden since 2012.
When asked to comment about President Peres’s office criticism saying it was Swedish negligence, Charlotta Ozaki Macias, head of Communications at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs declined to comment on it.
“You’ve received the facts of the incident. We have no additional comments,” Macias said.
The 90-year-old Peres is the first Israeli head of state to visit the Norway on a state visit.
Norway’s King Harald V, who plays a ceremonial role and is not part of the government, welcomed Peres to the royal palace on Monday as police dispersed demonstrators outside.
Peres was in Oslo between May 12-13, 2014. He also met with the Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Speaker of the Norwegian Parliament Olemic Thommessen, as well as the Nobel Peace Prize Center and the Jewish community.
UPDATE: We find it very interesting that since we contacted the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm, our TheSantosRepublic email and IP was put into a Global Block list.