Borge Brende in Israel.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In addition to trying to find a solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict and rebuilding and rehabilitating Gaza, the world must push back extremist organizations such as ISIS (Islamic State), Norwegian Foreign Minister Borg Brende told President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday.
Brende, who was last in Israel in July, had to shelter from rockets fired from Gaza, while visiting Ashkelon with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.
Brende, who attended the NATO Summit meeting in Cardiff, Wales at the end of last week, said that the issues of the Middle East had been discussed there, and that there had been consensus about the need to push back extremist organizations such as Islamic State, which Brende said is “one of the worst things we have seen in modern history.”
Brende, who was in Baghdad in the last week of August, said that he had heard “the most unbelievably horrible stories” about the suffering inflicted by Isis, and therefore was adamant that solutions must be found not only to the Israeli Palestinian conflict, but also to the broader issues in the region.
In this context he had written in the presidential guest book that it was good to be back in Israel at such a critical time for the region.
Brende said that he will be in Cairo on Tuesday to discuss details with the Egyptians about hosting an international donors meeting for the reconstruction of Gaza with the proviso that there be a permanent ceasefire in Gaza under Egyptian supervision.
Norway is also preparing a meeting in New York on September 22 in aide of the Palestinians.
In welcoming Brende, Rivlin said that Israel appreciates Norway’s concern about the situation in Gaza, and is likewise interested in the reconstruction of Gaza on the condition that the Gazans understand that they have to live side by side with Israel, and that Gaza should be demilitarized.
Rivlin cautioned that if Gaza is not demilitarized, funds contributed by donor countries will be used for attacks against Israel and not for the purposes for which they were intended “and we will again be at a dead end.”
Emphasizing the importance of the rule of law, Rivlin said that over the past twenty years instead of wars between states, there have been wars between states and terrorist organizations. Rivlin thanked Brende for the efforts that Norway is making to try to persuade Hamas to recognize Israel, and added that even though there are no negotiations between Israel and Hamas, indirect negotiations are taking place.