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Norwegian PM backs Israel but calls for 'proportionality' in Hamas offensive

Nordic Council meeting in Oslo, Norway, Oct 31, 2023
Nordic Council meeting in Oslo, Norway, Oct 31, 2023 Copyright Javad Parsa/Javad Parsa / NTB
Copyright Javad Parsa/Javad Parsa / NTB
By Kristina HarazimEuronews with AP
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Speaking at the Nordic Council meeting in Oslo, Norwegian leader Jonas Gahr Store said while Israel has the right to defend itself, there is also a 'link' to proportionality and the drama unfolding in Gaza which he believes is a threat to civilians and the region, including Israel.

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The eight-member regional group largely agrees on proposals for a humanitarian pause to Israel's offensive in Gaza, however, divisions have surfaced.

Norway was the only one to back the recent United Nations General Assembly motion on the issue.

The others declined because it failed to condemn the Hamas militant group's deadly attack on Israel on 7 October.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said Oslo's view is that Israel has to be able to defend itself from militant aggression.

"Israel has the right to defend itself. Full stop. But then there is a link here to the proportionality and the drama unfolding in Gaza which I believe is a threat to civilians but also a threat to the countries in the region including Israel. And that is why for us it is paramount now to have a humanitarian pause, to get in support, to get in humanitarian relief," Store said.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said ''there was a missing link'' in the UN motion ''and that was to condemn the terror attack of Hamas''.

"So in all texts, we should condemn what has happened in Israel. We have to support Israel when it comes to their right to self-defence, of course, in international law. And at the same time, we need to do more on securing civilian lives and ensuring that the humanitarian aid will reach all those in Gaza who are in need of it," she said.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is also attending the meeting.

He condemned the Hamas ''terrorist attack'' but urged Israel to abide by the rule of law.

''Civilians must be protected and humanitarian help must come through to Gaza. The suffering we have seen reminds us that we can’t give up working for a peaceful solution to the conflict,” he said.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the meeting, calling for the Nordic countries to take a tougher stance against the Israeli military's bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

The Nordic Council is holding its 75th Session from 30 October to 2 November. The Session is the Nordic Region's political summit.

Additional sources • Nordic Council

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