Norway's ambassador to Israel drew distinctions between the Oslo and Utoeya massacres and Palestinian terrorism.
Svein Sevje said in an Israeli newspaper interview Tuesday that while the Norwergian bomb and gun rampages that killed 76 people and Palestinian attacks should both be considered morally unacceptable, he wanted to "outline the similarity and the difference in the two cases."
While Sevje voiced sympathy for Israeli terror victims, having experienced "the inferno" of such attacks during his posting, he saw little chance of Norway reviewing its Middle East policies.
"We Norwegians consider the occupation to be the cause of the terror against Israel," he said. "Those who believe this will not change their mind because of the attack in Oslo."
I wonder, Mr. Sevje, does Hezbollah exist because of "occupation" as well? Because Israel isn't occupying any Lebanese territory, and yet Hezbollah still threatens Israel. Explicitly.
Does Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror exist because of the "occupation?" Because their leaders say that they are against the existence of Israel altogether. Explicitly.
Are Hamas rocket attacks against southern Israeli communities because of "occupation?" Because they accelerated after Israel evicted all Jewish families from the area. If "occupation" causes terror, wouldn't one expect the attacks to disappear when the occupation disappears?
Was the terror attack against the AMIA in Argentina, an attack roughly as deadly as the ones in Oslo, because of "occupation?" Because it is hard to imagine how an attack thousands of miles away is related to that.
Are the Palestinian Arabs who chant at rallies "Palestine is our country, and Jews are our dogs" referring to the areas on the Jordanian side of the "Green Line"?
Was the Ghriba synagogue bombing in Tunisia in 2002 because of "occupation?" Because it was, you know, a synagogue.
Were the hundreds of attacks against Israel before 1967, before anyone ever heard of "occupation," because of "occupation"?
Do the Muslim students in Norway who routinely express admiration for Hitler because he killed Jews - documented in a 2010 Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation report - say that because of the "occupation?"
Did an Iranian general, just recently, call to destroy Israel altogether because of his opposition to "occupation?"
As an ambassador, you must be a bright guy, so I'm certain you can explain exactly how "occupation" is the common thread that runs through all these examples. Please, enlighten us with your astounding Norwegian wisdom.
UPDATE: The ambassador has sent out a complaint to Ma'ariv, where the interview was first published:
I spoke to your journalist off the record with a clear condition that any quotes would be sent to me for my approval. The interview, however, was printed without me having been presented with the quotes. This goes against the journalistic norms that I am used to both from this country and other postings, and I do not find it acceptable.It does not sound like he is denying the quote, although he is changing "we Norwegians" to "many Norwegians." It would be interesting to see how Ma'ariv responds.
Regarding the substance of the interview, there are several problems and inaccuracies in the text. The most important one is this: When asked whether the terror attack in Norway would change Norwegian perception of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, I told your journalist that many Norwegians would see terror actions in Israel in the context of both the occupation and religious extremism, and that this would not change after what happened at Utoya.
I did not seek to convey any personal or governmental position regarding the motivation behind terror attacks against Israel, nor to compare terror attacks in Israel and Norway. The Norwegian position has always been, as rightly stated in your article, that terror, regardless of motivation, is unacceptable.