NRK Radio (Broadcast) 2013 08 17
Several commenters, commenting on foreign policy questions
In this program, which is NRK’s Saturday commentary on foreign policy, Sidsel Wold plays a significant role.
The first part of the program is an interview with Espen Bart Eide on Egypt, in which EBE makes some interesting comments, comparing the present day situation to a coup d’état, however, he states Norway will remain represented in Egypt. He criticizes the government over excessive use of force, however also criticizing the Muslim Brotherhood over its willingness to employ violence.
Connected to this interview, SW refers to the “democratically elected Hamas”. EBE on his hand chose to deplore former Western support to dictators ahead of the “Arab spring”.
After talks with EBE, Lars Sigurd Sunnanå reports from Egypt, seeing economic depression due to the crash in the Egyptian tourism industry. After this, Sidsel Wold has an interview with Norwegian speaking Egyptian journalist Amal Wahab on the present situation in Egypt, Ms. Wahab presenting a very balanced account on the present situation.
Next in the program was a report on the Oslo accords, 20 years later, interviewing Hanne Eggen Røislien. HER describes present diplomatic relations between USA (and also the EU) and Israel as “lukewarm”. Sidsel Wold raises the questions of boycotts; presenting this quote as part of her question to HER:
“Israeli politicians are facing an unpleasant choice; they have to decide upon whether Israel shall remain a Jewish country, a democracy, or walk in Israel’s present path, becoming an Apartheid type country; becoming even more isolated”.
HER responded very balanced to this; says “visions” are lacking in Israel’s government; comments on Netanyahu’s policies in general.
Vårt Land 2013 08 19
The right wing parties may take over power in Government with deviating and unclear policies on Israel.
“Explain your intents”, FM Espen Barth Eide challenges.
At the end of this elections campaign; Norway’s line in Middle East policies are unknown.
Neither the Conservatives nor the Liberals refers to the relations between the Israelis and Palestinians in their programs ahead of the elections. The Progressives have written two lines; the CPP has a large heap of political promises.
Wish for a clarification.
FM Espen Barth Eide is by now asking for a clarification over what policies the non-Socialist parties will have in the event of them winning the elections.
“I perceive different signals by in particular the Conservatives, the CPP and the Progressives. The Conservatives appears to be close to us; while it seems like there has been a contest between the CPP and the Progressives over who can raise most issues on Israel in the Storting”; Eide says, and continues:
“It is very well of them to do that; I however hold the impression they are not aligned with the Conservatives on these issues”.
The four parties are in full agreement on one point: They will mute the criticism of Israel- presenting a mellower profile than the RedGreens.
“Firstly; a very different rhetoric will be felt. You will have none of these boycott initiatives popping up from everyplace with us”, says Hans Olav Syversen, the leader of the CPP’s fraction in the Storting.
“We will mute the criticism the present government employs every time Israel defends herself. The country’s right to this is very important”, says Peter N. Myhre, a member of the Storting for the Progressives, seated in the Committee of Foreign Affairs.
He believes none of the right wing parties will make any fuss over Israel employing military force to stop terrorist actions.
The deputy leader of the Liberals: Ola Elvestuen, promise more balance in rhetoric if the right wing takes over power.
How will the electorate note differences between you and the Socialist party?
“The Socialist Party has had a particularly biased criticism of Israel. The goal is to implement a two state solution; not to take a stand in what is a very complex conflict”, Elvestuen says.
Spokeswoman of the Conservatives, also being the leader of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Storting, Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide, responds to Vårt Land through an e-mail. She states:
“Being somewhat less cocksure, showing somewhat more realism and self-insight. This should be the starting point of Norwegian policy on the Middle East”.
Has the government presented a too biased criticism, Mr. Foreign Minister Eide?
“We have criticized those who ought to be criticized. For instance, through very many years we have been critical of Hamas, I have been very clear on Israel’s right to self-defense. Meanwhile, we have been very critical of Israeli illegal construction on occupied territory”.
A question leading to divided opinions on the right wing of politics is an issue championed by some conservative Christians; moving the Norwegian embassy to Jerusalem.
To many Christian friends of Israel, this is a major symbolic issue; to test clarity in the view on Israel.
The CPP has the move of the Embassy to Jerusalem in its program as soon as this can be done without harm to the peace process. The Progressives are also in support of moving.
The Liberals and Conservatives are against this. The parties’ spokespersons brand this theme as unrealistic.
“We do not regard the moving of the Embassy as a relevant Norwegian policy”, Søreide writes.
“We cannot see how moving the Embassy can contribute positively to a two state solution”, deputy Liberal leader Elvestuen says.
Aftenposten 2013 08 17, Åshild Eidem
A long, balanced and well researched article on the Israeli Haredi community. This article does in particular cover the divides within the Israeli community between the secular and the religious elements.
Aftenposten 2013 08 17, William Booth/Ruth Eglash
A translation of this article; originally published in the Washington Post:
Aftenposten 2013 08 16, NTB
Also in several other news sources.
20 000 Palestinians employed in construction of settlements in the West Bank, 70 000 Palestinians employed in Israel.
Israeli employers pay double wages compared to Palestinians.
The article points to the illegality of the settlements, several UN resolutions and the International Court in Hague.