An astonishing decision given last years scandal in the wake of the 22 July terror attack, when it transpired that the people who had been tasked with ensuring public security badly failed their mission. Now the city planners of Oslo have decided that the Israeli embassy must dismantle fences and other security measures they were forced to implement as Norwegian police/the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs repeatedly failed to give the embassy the security needed to ward off (more or less) Norwegian thugs with an insatiable wish to destroy anything Israeli or Jewish…
lifted from VG.no (bad google translate)
Israeli embassy pushed to abandon security measures
While Israel asks for increased security around Jewish targets in Europe, the Israeli embassy in Oslo will be forced to demolish a fence that is set up to protect the embassy from attack.
The embassy received in 2000 a temporary permit to build a wall and a fence around the building. After several rounds in which both the Directorate of Cultural Heritage and the county have raised objections against the security measures the Planning and Building Services in Oslo has now issued its final rejection of the embassy’s application for an extension of the exemption.
The reason for the rejection is that the area where the embassy is located is on the list of architecturally protected neighborhoods.
The case will now be finally processed by urban development committee. Commissioner for Urban Development in Oslo, Baard Folke Fredriksen (H), confirms that the matter will be dealt with during the winter. If politicians take advice from the public servants, the wall and fence will be removed.
The embassy stressed in its application that security measures around the building has been “a significant contribution to the safety of the embassy.” it also points out that Norwegian authorities are responsible for the security of foreign embassies.
- The threats have unfortunately grown more serious direction in recent years, and a hedge of the embassy, without these measures would require unreasonably large resources from the Norwegian authorities, according to the letter.
The embassy has long been working to find new premises. The Ministry o Foreign Affairs, which assists the Embassy in the relocation process, shows that precisely the extensive security requirements have made it difficult to find alternative premises.
Asking for support
Israel has previously requested increased security around Jewish targets in Europe, also in response to increased tensions between Iran and the West around the Iranian nuclear program. The Israeli security fears terror attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets, and has asked the security services in Europe to tighten security around potential terrorist targets.
Also the Jewish community in Norway has previously criticized the Norwegian government for the lack of support for security around the synagogue in Oslo, which was subjected to an attack in 2006.
Chairman of the Friends of Israel, member of parliament Hans Olav Syversen (KrF), warns of a narrow interpretation of plans. He stressed that the security threat to the Israeli embassy is real.
- This cannot be treated as a normal planning case. We have examples from both Oslo and elsewhere in the world that such measures are susceptible. If the planning office does not take this into account, then I would expect politicians in Oslo make a thorough assessment of the security challenges when they hear the case, he said.
Also the Foreign Ministry stressed that the embassy has “special security requirements that must be met in a satisfactory manner.” The Ministry therefore recommends that the embassy receives an extension of the exemption.
- Will evaluate the security needs
Commissioner Baard Folke Fredriksen does not want to anticipate the political treatment of the embassy controversy, but confirms that urban development committee will be hearing the case during the winter.
- It is too early to conclude, but the embassy’s need for security is one aspect we will consider very carefully, says Fuller.
VG has been in contact with both the Israeli embassy in Oslo, the Israeli Foreign Ministry but nobody wishes to comment on the story.