According to combined news sources, just two days before gunman Anders Behring Breivik opened fire on teenagers participating in Norway’s ruling party youth camp on the island of Utoya, the campers met with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere and demanded he recognize the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
The Norwegian web site “Politisk” reported that in his address, Mr. Gahr Stoere told the youngsters that the Palestinians deserve a country of their own and that the Israeli occupation must end.” Several of the youths waved signs reading, “Boycott Israel” as the foreign minister further told them that Oslo is waiting for the official Palestinian proposal to be submitted to the UN in September. Earlier last week, this information was corroborated Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas visited Norway and was told that Oslo will recognize Palestine.
Eskil Pedersen, leader of the Workers’ Youth League said that the movement endorses a financial embargo on Israel, adding that they will “pursue a more active policy in the Middle East” and expressed support for the resumption of peace talks. Gahr Stoere agreed, but said a boycott was counterproductive; explaining it will turn the dialogue into a monologue.
Prior to the arrest of 32-year old Anders Behring Breivik, the Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami group, a radical Islamic organization, claimed responsibility for the attack. In a statement, the group said the offensive was meant to be a revenge operation for Norway’s military role in Afghanistan as well as insults to Prophet Mohammad.
Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said he did not want to speculate on the motives for the attacks. “Compared to other countries I wouldn’t say we have a big problem with right-wing extremists in Norway. But we have had some groups, we have followed them before, and our police is aware that there are some right-wing groups,” he told a news conference. He also told reporters that he had spent many summers on the island of Utoya, which was hosting a youth retreat for his party and added that Utoya was “my childhood paradise that yesterday was transformed into hell.”
Meanwhile, Breivik made his first court appearance yesterday In a closed-door arraignment. Oslo District Court Judge Kim Heger decided on a closed-door detention hearing on a request from police, according to a statement reported by the Associated Press, denying Breivik the public platform he’d hoped for. The Associated Press has reported that Breivik’s attorney, Geir Lippestad, told the Norwegian press that his client had requested to appear at his arraignment in uniform but didn’t know what kind of uniform.
Breivik, who has confessed to dressing as a police officer and firing on youths on the Norwegian island and to detonating a bomb outside the Norwegian prime minister’s office just hours before the shooting spree insists that he acted alone. He has said that he wanted to attack Norwegian society in order to change it, according to Acting National Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim. Breivik has told his lawyer that he wanted to transform the Western world, according to reports. Prosecutors are expected to request eight weeks of pretrial detention for the suspect while they put their case together.
Fern Sidman holds a B.A, in political science from Brooklyn College. She was the educational coordinator for the Betar Youth Movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was national director of the Jewish Defense League from 1983-1985. She was a researcher for several books written by Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZTK”L. She was the managing editor of the publication entitled, The Voice of Judea, and is a regular contributor to its web site. She is currently a writer and journalist living in New York City. Her articles have appeared in The Jewish Press, The Jewish Advocate, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and numerous Jewish and general web sites including, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Pipes and Michael Freund.
We are delighted to have Ms. Sidman as a regular contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog.