Støre; we wont accept a text that delegitimizes Israel

We are often very critical of our FM Støre and how he handles Israel, which puts the onus on us to recognize when he adopts a more neutral and correct position. From IDag:

Støre; we wont accept a text that delegitimizes Israel

Richard Oestermann, Foto: Isranet
29.08.2011 19:28

Norway will not support a text that delegitimizes Israel, says the NorwegianForeign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, in an exclusive interview with Norway TODAY.

The minister has been very busy during his brief stay in Jerusalem. This is his 20th visit to the Middle East. He has come here to be updated on the situation ahead of the donor countries’ upcoming meeting in New York, where Norway has a leading role. The meeting is sponsored by “Ad Hoc Liaison Committee” (AHLZ), where Norway has the chair.

The minister stressed that Norway will not consider the expected Palestinian proposal for recognition at the UN, before they have seen the actual text.

Shortly after his arrival in Israel, Støre held talks in Ramallah with Palestinian leaders – including President Mahmoud Abbas. In Israel, he will meet with opposition leader, Kadima Party chairman Tzipi Livni, as well as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

When asked how he would describe these talks, says Minister:
– It was a long and useful talks, held in a good atsmosfære.

During his visit to Jerusalem was Minister also met with General EitanDangot, who is head of civil administration in the managed areas.

Questioned whether peace is any closer now, he said:
– I hope the trend is moving in that direction, he replied diplomatically, and added: – There are still major problems in getting the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations re-started, but we must remain optimists.

According to the Israeli Prime Minister’s office Netanyahu expressed concern in his conversation with the Minister that the Palestinian UN proposal statehood could lead to violence and “harm the peace process.”

– The Palestinians have a tendency to move up a tree – and kick the ladder away, said Netanyahu. If the a proposal for a Palestinian state is presented to the UN, would be as if the Palestinians themselves nullified previous agreements.

Netanyahu argued that Israel took risks and pulled out of areas under the assumption that the conflict should be settled by negotiation. A Palestinian proposal on a statehood  “would be a cancellation of these understandings.”

– If the UN adopts a resolution calling for a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, the Western Wall would be “occupied territory,” he told the Norwegian foreign minister.

Netanyahu also commented on the situation in southern Israel, saying that the reason that the government had shown restraint in responding to the terroristattack near Eilat and the renewed missile attacks from Gaza, was that “we do not have to prove that we are tough.”

Lieberman told the Minister that if the Palestinians presented its proposal on statehood at the UN, he would recommend an immediate break in relations with the Palestinian Authority (PA).

-It is impossible that the PA in the morning has discussions with us about security cooperation, and in the evening promotes a legal action against us at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, said Lieberman.

Before he traveled to the Middle East, the Minister said in Oslo, that Norway condemns the Syrian government’s killing of civilians, but will not directly support a call for President Bashar Assad to stand down.
– The problem is that there is no clear governmental  alternative to take over, he said.

After his meetings with Palestinian and Israeli leaders, the Minister traveled at noon today on to Amman to discuss the situation with Jordanian leaders.

Aside from the policy with regards to Syria, I think this was a fairly balanced approach. More of this would be appreciated also in future interviews or photo-ops.