Oslo Forum snubs Israelis

Norwegian envoy explains: Mideast not on agenda

oslo parliament 311 (photo credit: alexander ottesen)
oslo parliament 311
(photo credit: alexander ottesen)
The Norwegian government convened a forum of 100 statesmen, negotiators, peace mediators and journalists from around the world on Tuesday but, to the consternation of Jerusalem, did not include anyone from Israel.
The Norwegian government, according to one Israeli official, is taking advantage of the “peace label” that has been linked to Oslo in no small part because of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinians, yet did not feel the need to include Israel in its annual parley.
“The Norwegians are reaping the benefits of the celebrity the Oslo Accords have given them, without feeling the need to invite us,” one official said, adding that the snub is a manifestation of Israel’s increasing international isolation.
According to the Oslo Forum 2010 Web site, the Oslo Forum, which began Tuesday and will end on Thursday, “regularly convenes senior conflict mediators, high level decision makers and key peace process actors in a series of informal and discreet retreats to share their experiences, identify challenges and reflect on their own and others’ practice.”
“If there was a peace meeting in Kinshasa or Bogotá, that would be one thing. But it is odd not to invite a single Israeli to a conference like this in Oslo,” the official said.
Among those who were invited were Palestinian Legislative Council member Ziad Abu Amr, Sein Fein President Gerry Adams, former UN secretary- general Kofi Anna, former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami, and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
One Foreign Ministry official said it was strange that Davutoglu was there to speak about Turkish mediation two years ago in Israeli-Syrian indirect talks, without any Israeli representative.
Even more problematic, the official said, was that Davutoglu used his appearance at the forum to unleash yet another tirade against Israel in the press.
Norwegian Ambassador to Israel Jakken Biorn Lian responded by saying that the Oslo Forum is “called each year to assemble people with experience in peacemaking.
“This year the Mideast is not on the agenda – Sudan and Afghanistan are on the agenda, and therefore the question of inviting Palestinians and or Israelis never arose,” he said.