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'Hostile public opinion.' Oslo
Photo: Oren Agmon
Oslo demands relocation of Israeli embassy
City officials say embassy poses security threat to surroundings; demands it be moved to an alternate site within a year. Ambassador: No one wants to sell us property

The Israeli Embassy in Oslo, Norway was officially notified a few days ago that it must move to another location within a year, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported Monday.

 

According to the Norwegians, the embassy poses a security threat to its surroundings and has had a negative impact on the residents' quality of life.

 

Michael Eligal, Israel's ambassador to Oslo, sent the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem a cable saying embassy staffers were having a hard time finding an alternate site. "Our search has been frustrating, to say the least," the envoy wrote. "No one wants to sell us property."

 

A Foreign Ministry official said the affair is indicative of a new low in Israel-Norway relations. "The authorities in Norway are capitulating to public opinion that is hostile to Israel," he said. "They are doing everything they can to make things more difficult on the embassy."

 

When the embassy moved to its current location more than a decade ago, a wall was erected around the site in accordance with Israeli security demands. The Oslo Municipality granted a special permit for the wall's construction on the condition that the embassy would be relocated after a decade and that the wall would be torn down.

 

Over the years neighbors have filed repeated complaints, saying the stringent security measures in the area were hurting their quality of life.

 

The owners of the structure which houses the embassy have no objection to extending the lease by another decade.

 

The City of Oslo has also forced the American Embassy to relocate to a suburb.

 

 

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