Gaza flare-up as reflected in Norway

In Aftenposten today the recently appointed Norwegian Foreign minister, Espen Barth Eide, was interviewed after the killing of Ahmed Jabari, head of the Hamas movement’s Military wing who was hit in his car by an Israeli missile.

 

There is a tangible change of pitch in the answer of the new Norwegian Foreign minister, as compared with his predecessor, when responding to the Aftenposten reporter.

 

No presumptious accusations flying out of this mouth. No Hamas protective apologetics. When prompted for a response the FM  accentuates that the rockets attacks are unacceptable and that Israel has the right to defend herself. Let’s hope this is a sign of positive development in Norway-Israel relationships.

 

The account when he is interviewed cuts to the chase quite differently to when infamous Israel basher Henriksson Waage is interviewed (see further down).

 

Espen Barth Eide: – We look with great concern at the escalation of violence

Kristoffer Rønneberg, 14.nov. 2012 19:20

- We see with great concern at the escalation of violence that is now unfolding in the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza, most recently represented by an airstrike where Hamas’ military leader, Ahmed Jabari, was killed, said Norway’s Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide in a statement to  Aftenposten.

- The rocket Attacks on Israel in the last days are clearly unacceptable, and Israel has the right to defend her own country and people. Countermeasures must be proportional and distinguish between combatants and non-combatants, he said.

- However, it is now important that the parties show a willingness to restraint and avoid further escalation. This will only lead to civilian life on both sides being put in danger and undermine the chances of finding a lasting solution to the conflict.

Compare this with Aftenpostens interview with Israel-basher Henrikson Waage from Galtungs infamous PRIO institute today. The interview is not really worth reading, (Waage careful anaysis concludes that the missile attack is Netanyahus need to show how macho he is). The Aftenposten main account of the events today is interesting in its own way. The Aftenposten main account does get to mention the 100 rocket attacks on Israel in the end. In the very end. To be more precise,  in the last part of the last sentence in the last paragraph.

 - Hamas will fire what they have of rockets and grenades

Andreas Slettholm, 14.nov. 2012 20:13

But Middle East researcher Hilde Henriksen Waage does not think that either party want a repeat of the Gaza war in 2009.

Israel confirms killing of Hamas leader

Earlier today Jabiri Ahmed, leader of the Hamas movement’s military wing, was killed in a bomb attack by the Israeli army. The Army has published a video of the attack, and Hamas has already notified retaliation.

- I think that neither Israel nor Hamas wants some escalation to full-scale war, as we saw in 2009, says Middle East researcher Hilde Henriksen Waage.

She points out that Israel currently has an uncertain situation at several of its borders.

- There have been skirmishes on the border with Syria, where the Assad regime is gone and it is completely unclear. Lebanon situation is also unclear, and we have seen attacks in Sinai (in Egypt, journ.’s Note). In the sitausjonen would probably not Israel want a major war on another front, said Waage.

Escalation

Waage said that Hamas is still weakened after the Gaza war four years ago, and has drawn bitter lessons of this.

- But I am much afraid that we will enter the period of bomb and grenade attacks and liquidations. Hamas will shoot out whatever they have of rockets, grenades and other weapons, says Waage, who also believes the other party is set for an escalation.

- Israel will also carry out military actions. But to sit “safe” in a bomber and make targeted attacks, is completely different than going in with ground forces. The danger is that such a situation can easily get out of control, where one action takes the other, said Waage.

Options in January

The fact that the Israeli army has not ruled out ground assaults in what they call “Operation Pillar of Defence ‘, Waage thinks is primarily rhetoric.

- We have already seen a fierce rhetoric from both sides. It will certainly continue, said Waage.

The offensive is perhaps not entirely unrelated to the elections in Israel in January.

- Benjamin Netanyahu can not afford to be accused of being weak in this conflict, said Waage.

- Do you think there will be fights until the election?

- It’s hard to say. The extent of injuries and fatalities will determine how serious the conflict will be, and how long it will last. I do not think there will be any full-scale war, but I don’t exclude it either, said Waage.

Extremist groups

While Hamas may not want a war, it is a problem for the movement that there are far more extreme forces in Gaza.

- There are many who would like to see a war. These have a very different morale and believe that Isreal can only be fought by military means. They do not think of civilian casualties to the same degree, said Waage.

The reason for Israel’s attack tonight was a gradual escalation of the conflict since Saturday, when four Israeli was killed in an attack on a military vehicle. Israel responded to the attack, and since the weekend nearly a hundred rockets were sent from Palestinian territory into south-Israel.

In any event, the latest flare-up has taken the back seat to  local news, such as football, sex and how Linstad now says he would be willing to hand back his medal of merit if the Kings asks him to. This might explain why there is no mention of the 250 or so rockets that have been launched over Southern Israel during the last 24 hours, although all media outlets have given some (sparse) attention to the three fatal victims of terror rockets from Gaza in Kiriay Malachi (mainly as a pretext to mention the number of Palestinian fatalities in the last 24 hours and lat gaza war in 2009). However, throughout the day, the quality of reporting from Gaza/Southern Israel has picked up significantly, from a very low low in the early hours of the morning when VG journalist Audun Beyer Olsen managed to use the following turn of phrase regarding to assassination of Hamas military strong man Jabri:

Ahmed al-Jaabari, leder i Hamas’ militære gren, ble drept sammen med sin livvakt da bilen de satt i, ble truffet av en rakett.
Det bekrefter både Hamas og Israel onsdag. Israel begrunner attentatet med militærlederens «terroraktivitet»gjennom flere tiår.

Ahmed al-Jaabari, the leader of Hamas’ military branch, was killed together with his life guard  when the car they traveled in, was hit by a rocket.

Both Hamas and Israel confirm this. Israel justifies the attack with the military leader’s “terror activity” throughout several decades.

How can 12 years of uninterrupted terror bombing from Gaza, suicide attacks, and other terror attacks against Israeli civilians be trivialized with a pair of utterly misplaced inverted commas? Does Beyer-Olsen think this makes him more of a “journalist”?