Israeli President met with protests in Norway

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Israeli President met with protests in Norway

Israeli President Shimon Peres was met by protests throughout the day over his country's policies in the occupied territories during a visit to Norway on Monday.


 A crowd of some 250 protesters gathered outside Norway's parliament on Monday evening to express their support for the Palestinian people. Earlier in the day 15 protesters had to be removed from the garden of the King of Norway's Oslo Palace, after they broke in to demonstrate against Peres's visit. 
The 90-year-old, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 alongside Yasser Arafat, the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, and the then Israeli Prime Minister 
Yitzhak Rabin, on Sunday told Oslo's Jews that there is "no alternative to peace". 
“Neither the Palestinians nor us really have any alternative but to live in peace... in two separate independent states,” he told a meeting in Oslo's synagogue on Sunday night, according to the Jerusalem Post newspaper. 
Peres's state visit began officially on Monday with a full ceremonial reception by King Harald V and a royal dinner. He also met Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Olemic Thommessen, the president of the Norway's parliament. 
Kathrine Jensen, head of the Norwegian Palestine Committee, attacked Norway's government for failing to condemn Israel's occupation. 
"When the government invites the Israeli president on a state visit, one can only ask what signal Norway wants to send," said Kathrine Jensen, she told Associated Press, calling on the Norwegian government to  "condemn Israeli occupation policy and their human rights abuses."
Eskil Pedersen, the leader of the Labour Party's youth wing, said the welcome given to Peres clashed awkwardly with the Norwegian government's refusal last week to meet the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people and himself a Nobel prize winner. 
"The official Norway refused to meet the Dalai Lama, but rolled out the red carpet for Shimon Peres and honoured him with a gala dinner at the Royal Palace,"  Pedersen pointed out.
In his speech on Sundaty, Peres recalled attending a service in the same the synagogue 20 years previously with Rabin just after the Oslo Accords were signed.
He said that that day the two men had prayed for peace. “Until it is completed we still have to pray and pray and pray,” he said. . 
Michael Melchior, Norway's chief rabbi, called Peres "an icon of Israeli society" on the eve of his visit. 
He said he blamed John Kerry for the failed attempt to revive peace talks over the last year. 
"He ran up against the same dead ends that we had hit eight to nine times before," he said. "The negotiations lacked significant innovations. We need to think outside the box. We have tried the same pattern for twenty years and we must realize that we are not getting anywhere with it." 
Norway's Jewish community is small, with only about 1,000 Jewish people living in Oslo and about 200 in Trondheim, but the country's long engagement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict  makes it a significant country for Israel. 
Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs mediated the back channel negotiations between Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberalisation Organisation and the government of Yitzhak Rabin that led to the Oslo Accords between 1993 and 1995.  


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