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August 28, 2013

Norwegian FM Calls for Palestinian Concessions


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Remember when Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas told a Washington Post reporter that he's content waiting for Israeli concessions? He famously told Jackson Diehl that he can sit back and wait because "in the West Bank we have a good reality . . . the people are living a normal life."

Norwegian foreign minister Espen Barth Eide seems to agree with one part of Abbas's assessment. In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Eide said that when looking at a map of the Middle East, “there are two small points of land that are more peaceful,” a reference to Israel and the West Bank.

But he seems to disagree that this is reason for Abbas or anyone else to sit around. "The donors will not be ready to keep funding Palestinian state-building much longer if we are not seeing a political horizon," he told the Post.

“I think this is important for the Palestinians to know, because if anyone there thought they could sort of just fall back to the comfort of an internationally subsidized state-building endeavor, that may be wrong,” he said in an interview. “And I think that it is important for some people on the Israeli side – living in reasonable comfort [given] that cooperation with the pseudo-state in the West Bank is quite good – to know that this cannot continue forever.”

He also called for Palestinian concessions in the wake of Israel's prisoner release involving Palestinian terrorists:

The Norwegian foreign minister said he had been misquoted by his country’s press before his arrival as saying that Israel’s release of Palestinian terrorists was not “an especially big sacrifice.”

He stressed to the Post that he believed the exact opposite – that the release of 26 terrorists was a “very important and very difficult concession which I know was hard to make.”

Then, saying something that European leaders do not often articulate, he added: “I also think that the Palestinians must now be ready to make some concessions, first and foremost on contributing a sense of security for the people of Israel.”

Norway has been widely criticized for its harsh anti-Israel and even anti-Jewish attitudes. Whether his statements will be unpopular back home, or signal a change in the political climate of the country, remains to be seen.

Posted by GI at August 28, 2013 04:47 PM

Comments

This is a good sign. I hope he convinces other EU leaders. The other good - excellent sign is the adoption of the Israeli curriculum by some Arab schools in Jerusalem.

Posted by: winta [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 4, 2013 01:39 PM

Concessions as a promise not to kill Israeli citizens, including babies? Thank you very much, what generosity!So, again the same song - Europeans want Israel to give land, to withdraw, to root up people, and Palestinians - just give a promise. How many times have we heard this? How many victims has Israel sacrificed for these promises?

Posted by: Marina at September 6, 2013 06:49 AM

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