FM Eide slams Israel over construction in J’lem, is only concerned regarding rockets from Gaza

Norway concerned over violence in Gaza

– The increasing violence in southern Israel and the Gaza Strip is very worrying and I urge all parties to refrain from further acts of violence, says Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide.

Over the weekend, it fired a large number of rockets from Gaza at Israeli targets. The Israeli air force has conducted a series of raids on Gaza. There are reports of several casualties as a result of the actions.

– Israel has the right to live within secure borders and to defend their own country and people. The rocket attacks against southern Israel is completely unacceptable. At the same time, counter measures must be proportionate and distinguish between combatants and civilians. Now, both parties must refrain from further escalation so that the cycle of violence be stopped and no more lives lost.

The events are deeply tragic for all those affected. Such incidents are devastating to the ability to find a lasting solution to the outstanding political issues between Israelis and Palestinians. Norway supports the Egyptian efforts to bring about a ceasefire, says Eide.

The right honorable gentleman cannot pretend to be ignorant about the Hamas’s own (very proud!) video recorded admission that it uses its own civilian population as human shields, while they cowardly aim their rockets at a million hapless Israeli civilians within Israel proper. What is holding him back from launching a scathing attack on Hamas and their fellow terrorist thugs for these war crimes?

It therefore stands out in a very odd contrast the very harsh language reserved only for Israel for having the audacity of constructing houses in areas that have been designated Israeli in every round of negotiations. 

“I deplore the fact that Israel has once again approved the construction of a large number of new homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The building of settlements on occupied land is a violation of international law and threatens the basis for a two-state solution,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.  

The Israeli authorities announced on 6 November that they are inviting bids for the construction of  1 285 new housing units in the settlements of Ramot and Pisgat Zeev in East Jerusalem and the settlement of Ariel in the West Bank.

The building of these new housing units will make 2012 a record year for the construction of Israeli settlements. It is over ten years since Israel last put out to tender the construction of so many new homes in the occupied Palestinian territory. Yesterday’s announcement alone signalled the building of a number of housing units equivalent to two per cent of all homes built in the occupied territory since 1967.

“We have seen a steady increase in the expansion of Israeli settlements and illegal acquisition of Palestinian land, and this latest announcement is in line with this trend,” Mr Eide said.

In October, the Israeli authorities approved the construction of 797 new housing units in the settlement of Gilo and 108 new housing units in East Talpiot in East Jerusalem. Israel is also planning to build a military academy on non-Israeli territory on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. In addition, two new settler outposts have been built in the West Bank this autumn: Nahalei Tal and Tzofim North, northwest of Ramallah and adjacent to the Tzofim settlement north of Qalqilya, respectively.

“I urge Israel to reverse the decision to invite bids for the construction of new housing units. The Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem are hampering efforts to find a solution to the question of Jerusalem,” Mr Eide said.