Foreign Minister talks of ‘unfortunate’ incident of visit to Israel

Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen SøreideForeign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide Ine Eriksen Søreide (Conservative Party) .Photo: Ørn E. Borgen / NTB scanpix

Foreign Minister, Ine Eriksen Søreide of Høyre (H) believes it is unfortunate that the young people who were on a study trip to Israel and Palestine were denied entry by the embassy.


“It is very unfortunate that Norwegian citizens who represent civil society have been denied entry to Israel and Palestine. Several like-minded countries experience the same challenges for their citizens, the Foreign Minister answered to a question from Petter Eide of theSosialistisk Venstreparti (SV).

Earlier this month, a group of Norwegian youths were on a study trip to Israel and Palestine,organised by the Palestinian Committee. However, the trip was canceled when the young people were told by Israeli ambassador, Raphael Schutz, that they would not get into Israel.

‘’Agents of hatred’’

In the letter from the ambassador, the Palestinian Committee were said to be “an extremely negative and destructive element” and “an agent of hatred” that denies the Jewish people the right to self-determination.

‘’This is purely a tactic. Our purpose is for people to see the situation with their own eyes and this could give them a qualified standpoint,’’ said the head of the committee, Kathrine Jensen,to NTB news.

The Palestinian Committee in Norway has for a number of years organised study tours to the Middle East, mainly to the West Bank, with the purpose of giving participants an insight into the situation of the Palestinians.

‘’Indoctrination tour’’

Minister, Dan Poraz of the Israeli Embassy defended the decision and thought it was not a study trip,but a purely indoctrinational trip.

“Israel is right, like all countries, to deny entry to people who want to hurt the country,” said Poraz to NTB news.

Søreide agreed with Poraz that Israel has the right to regulate who enters their territory.

‘’This also applies to persons moving in to Palestine. This means that Norwegian authorities have limited opportunities to influence decisions on entry for Norwegian citizens stopped by Israeli authorities,’’ according to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today