Lets hope he understands that nobody can withstand as much “friendly” criticism as Israel has suffered. Its about time!
Lifted from dagen.no, google translate
Norway’s new man in Israel
Tuesday 07 January 2016, at. 4:48 p.m. Updated: Thursday 07 January 2016, at. 4:49 p.m. Kenneth Fjell Rasmussen, Dagen’s correspondent in Israel
ISRAEL – We must not lose the ability to understand the Israelis, says ambassador Jon Hanssen-Bauer. He has a hope that Norway will continue to play a role in the peace process.
When the Solberg government appointed a new ambassador to Israel, the choice fell on an experienced diplomat who knows the region. Since the 90s, Jon Hanssen-Bauer has worked in the Middle East, first working for the Fafo research foundation, as an adviser to the Foreign Ministry, and since 2009 as Norwegian Special Envoy to the Middle East.
When he presented his credentials to President Reuven Rivlin, he emphasized the goal of strengthening bilateral relations and that Norway still want to contribute in the efforts to put in place an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
– We are proud of Norway’s role as host of the Oslo Accords, while we are fully aware of the difficulties that have arisen since. We are here to help achieve a consensus that can bring peace and security to Israel, said Hanssen-Bauer during the ceremony in Jerusalem.
The aim to contribute to conflict resolution when repeated day meetings ambassador at the embassy in Tel Aviv.
– As I see it, we have lost much of the ability to understand Israel. If Norway shall continue to have a position and be relevant in the Middle East negotiations, we must understand Israel’s needs and interests and how Israelis think. We can not just base ourselves on the Palestinian’s understanding of the conflict, he said.
Hanssen-Bauer points out that he has been appointed by the current government, which wants to lead a balanced Middle East policy. While he has hitherto worked with both parties to the conflict, the main focus of his ambassador to Israel and relations with Norway.
– My job is to convey to the Israelis what Norway stands for and how the Norwegian public stance on various issues. Meanwhile, I will convey Israeli viewpoint to Norway and help Norwegian authorities in understanding the development of society in Israel, he said.
Hanssen-Bauer refers to a prolonged historical friendship between Norway and Israel. Norway was among the countries that in 1947 voted to divide Palestine territory into a Jewish and an Arab state, and later played Norway an important role when Israel was admitted as a full member of the UN. Last July it 65 years ago diplomatic relations were established between the countries.
– After the war had Jewish cause great sympathy in Norway. Anyone who has survived a few years knows how strong cohesion between Norway and Israel were. Labor had close ties with sister party in Israel, many admired the kibbutz movement and it was talked about the “desert that bloomed,” he says.
Beyond the 70s and 80s also grew Norwegians’ understanding of the Palestinian demands and situation, and solidarity groups arose.
– But the good relations between Norway and Israel were the backdrop for the role Norway could eventually play in the peace process, says Hanssen-Bauer.
Later new and more centre right Israeli governments criticized Norway’s role. In the Israeli public debate, there are also voices that point to Norway as a hostile nation, which has chosen sides in the conflict.
– It is absolutely wrong. We helped with the implementation of what we voted for in 1947. It is not easy and mistakes have been made by all involved. But without occupation raised, neither Israelis or Palestinians realize their national dream, he says.
– Criticizing the Palestinians
Among many friends of Israel consensus is that while Israel publicly criticized in the strongest terms, takes the criticism of the Palestinians in the backroom. Hanssen-Bauer disagrees.
– We have said clearly when we disagree with the Palestinian Authority. In particular, we have provided direct messages when it comes to human rights issues, he said.
Regarding the relationship between Norway and Israel, he points out that countries are entirely disagree on one issue, namely the legality of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
– This disagreement is played up by the media, but we have also engaged in a number of other issues in the region, he said.
As head of the Donor Group on Palestine, Norway has engaged in efforts to coordinate and control the use of the aid collected for building the necessary Palestinian institutions.
– The economic system of the Palestinians are closely monitored and screened by donors. It may at times make it uncomfortable for the PA, but is necessary when there isn’t a functioning parliamentary control. Donors’ trust depends on close monitoring, says Hanssen-Bauer.
Almost half of budget support goes to Gaza, but not to Hamas. In autumn 2014 led Norway and Egypt a donor conference for the reconstruction of Gaza. Together with the UN, donors and the Israeli and Palestinian authorities, it came in place a consensus on how reconstruction should take place.
The Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM) aims to put the Palestinian government able to lead the reconstruction, engaging the private sector in the Gaza Strip, giving confidence to donors that investment going forward and prevent the building materials used for purposes that may threaten the safety of the civilian population in the area.
– There have been some teething problems. People in an economically distressed situation has sold cement, gravel and sand on the black market instead of repairing damage to the house. The system is not perfect, but Israel believes control now is good enough, says the ambassador.
All control measures have led to delays, but Hanssen-Bauer believes it had been impossible to rebuild damaged and destroyed buildings in a Hamas-controlled Gaza unless these measures were in place.
For someone like much of his adult life has been involved in conflict resolution, it is frustrating for Hanssen-Bauer to see how the peace process has almost completely stalled.
– I see no other solution than two-state solution, but the parties slipping ever further apart. Both parties have lost hope for a solution in the short term. Meanwhile parties themselves must show the political will that is needed to get the process started again, he says.
He thinks it’s more important than ever to establish a political process that can provide a horizon of hope. There is a real danger that Self authority coincide. It will make everything much harder and precariousness for both Israelis and Palestinians.
Jon Hanssen-Bauer is not among those who view the conflict between Jews and Arabs as “all conflict mother.” He is aware that one does not solve the problems of IS by solving the Palestinian conflict.
– But unlike many other parts of the Middle East is Israel and Palestine than while a fairly stable area, with a huge growth potential if one get to a solution, he said.
He also believes that a peaceful coexistence between Jews and Palestinians can have a positive effect in a troubled region.
Despite many challenges, he is glad to be started in his new role. He looks forward to putting in place the new cooperation agreement between Norway and Israel, which Day always spoke in November.
The agreement is politically trusted home, and paves the way for extensive cooperation on industrial research and development.
– Norway and Israel have compatible expertise in IT technology related to oil and gas extraction. It can also build on an extensive research in health and medicine.
– Norwegian trade and industry must come on the pitch, but we can help to find Israeli partners, said the ambassador.
He points to a significant increase in trading activities. Norway supplies a third of all fish imported to Israel and Norwegian investors have great confidence in Israel’s economy.
He is also pleased that Norway has a defense attache in place in Israel. While he himself was appointed ambassador, was Yvonn Andreassen appointed Norwegian forsvarsattache in Israel, with secondary accreditation to Jordan and Egypt.
– It is important to have a Norwegian military expert analysis post here where they have so much knowledge about a region that is important for Norway’s security, he said.
Family of priests
– Now I’m looking forward also to meet Norwegians who for various reasons are living in Israel, he says, and reveals that he as a child his relationship with Israeli was practically imbibed while suckling his mother.
– I come from a family of priests, where Israel and biblical figures were constantly discussed. Both my father, grandfather and my father’s uncle were priests, he said.
He didn’t follow their footsteps, but now he has become Norway’s new man in “the Holy Land.”