The Foreign Minister describes the danger of expanding the scope of the war in Gaza as great.
-The danger is great and dangerous. Unfortunately, we have seen many rounds of fighting in Gaza, but this time the force was much greater, Eddie tells VG.
– The tension is clear in all countries of the region: there is major unrest in the West Bank and Hezbollah and Israel are firing missiles at each other – this is an indication of the risk of proliferation.
After he says that, Eddie says, he didn’t do it Hizb allahHizb allahAn Islamist party, social movement, and military organization in Lebanon with roots in Iran. They have shown clear signs that they want to escalate the conflict further.
Recently, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah gave a speech that everyone thought would deliver a message that would ignite the region. But despite the use of strong words, the message itself was not as bad as feared. Many thought it could have been worse.
On November 3, the Hezbollah leader delivered the speech in question, which was his first speech since the outbreak of war between Hamas and Israel on October 7.
Among other things, Nasrallah expressed support for Hamas, held the United States responsible for Israeli military operations in Gaza and warned of the consequences of the possible spread of the war.
– Did people also think in Norway that it could have been worse?
– Yes, but people with us and others who have read such speeches before realize that Hezbollah is still hesitating for a long time. They could have asked their brothers to stand up, but it did not happen as we envisioned it, and I think that is how the speech was read in a large number of other countries as well.
Risk of spread
Since October 7, Hezbollah and Israel have attacked each other daily without escalation. But Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant warned on Saturday that what they are doing now in Gaza, they could also do in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon.
“I view this as a warning to those who are not Hezbollah supporters in Lebanon, and it has to do with the fact that it would be wise to keep Hezbollah under control,” Eddy says.
It is also interesting that Iran chose to participate in the summit in Saudi Arabia, while it has historically been viewed as its worst enemy. This could be interpreted as a signal that restrictions will be imposed on the spread of the war in Gaza.
The Foreign Minister refers to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit meeting held in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, at the end of the week. Eddie says he’s worried, though.
One thing is the risk of spreading to the region surrounding Israel and Palestine, but another thing is the risk that the war in Gaza could inspire extremist Islamic groups in other countries, which are currently under control.
There is reason to fear that even moderate Islamist Brotherhood could be mobilized as a result of the perception that injustice is being committed against their fellow Palestinians. This is big and could have consequences around the world.
Hamas can be strengthened
In the short term, Eddie believes that what is most important is providing humanitarian respite and alleviating suffering in Gaza. In the long term, he believes that we should move towards a two-state solution.
– If Israel wants to remain a democratic Jewish state, it needs a Palestinian state. The alternative is one large state where the majority are not Jewish, or where there are no equal rights for all who live there.
– Is there a danger that Hamas might emerge stronger or worse after this war?
– Yes, there is indeed a danger of that. I have no doubt that Israeli forces will be able to destroy large parts of Hamas’ forces and infrastructure in Gaza. But if there is no solution in the future, there is reason to fear that Hamas will only recruit new people, says Eddy and continues:
– There are more than two million people living in Gaza, and now their sisters and grandmothers are being killed in bomb attacks – I don’t think they will be friendly with Israel.
On Sunday, approximately 250 Norwegian citizens in Gaza were not released.
– No time or date has been set for when they could be released, but we are constantly talking to people who have an influence on the situation, and we are reassured that Norwegian citizens are in the system and that their turn will come. “says Eddie.
– Now we have the impression that the process is moving more slowly due to cooperation between Hamas, Israel and Egypt.
-What is it about collaboration that makes things go slower?
– It’s not about foreigners in Gaza, it’s about other wounded people who you want out as well.
In recent days, the situation in and around hospitals in Gaza has been chaotic, with reports of attacks and violent fighting. In particular, attention was paid to Al-Shifa Hospital, which was said to have been attacked and besieged by Israeli forces.
– Do you want to condemn the attacks on hospitals in the Gaza Strip?
We have condemned the Israeli siege and condemn violations of humanitarian law. “We are therefore reticent to condemn individual actions, but in general we believe that a violation of humanitarian law has been committed, and this is unacceptable,” says Eide.
– We deeply sympathize with the extreme state of insecurity felt by Israelis after the terrorist attack that occurred on October 7, and we recognize the right to self-defense, but this right is not unleashed.
I believe the mind will be strengthened
University lecturer Dag Henrik Tostad at the University of Oslo believes that attacks on hospitals could intensify the anger that has arisen in the region.
– When you see such terrorist bombings, it is very important for people in the Middle East and elsewhere that there is a protest in Northern Europe, and that you hear something other than Western politicians talking about Israel’s right to defend itself, Tostad told VG.
– People in Gaza and those I spoke to do not understand why there are no protests in countries that call themselves free democracies – and how people can sit and watch thousands of children being killed.
– I think that the anger related to this matter, which has already accumulated, will intensify as a result of the attacks on hospitals in Gaza.
Moreover, Tostad says Hezbollah and Iran appear to be mostly concerned with their own interests, and he believes they do not currently appear to want a full-scale war in the Middle East.
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