Insisting that Israel’s ground invasion will seriously hinder diplomatic efforts to find a long-term peaceful compromise between the Israelis and Palestinians, the governments of both Norway and Sweden condemned the Gaza attacks in the strongest possible terms.
In a public statement, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said: “The possibility that diplomatic efforts over the next couple of days will lead to progress has now diminished dramatically.” Bildt travelled to the Middle East over the weekend with his Czech and French counterparts to try and mediate a ceasefire.
Bildt added that Israel’s ground incursion was, “Basically an admission that (Tel Aviv’s) air attacks over the past week have failed to achieve what they had hoped for. Instead of seeking a possible political solution after this failure they have now chosen to dramatically escalate the conflict with a ground offensive. It is obvious that this will make it harder to find a solution to this serious conflict.”
Jonas Gahr Stoere, Norway’s Foreign Minister, shared the views of his Swedish counterpart, stating that Norway “Vehemently distances itself from acts of war that lead to massive civilian suffering and requests that the (Israeli) troops are withdrawn immediately. Continued bombing of the densely populated Gaza Strip has now become a full-blown military ground operation that is afflicting a civilian population that can’t defend itself and cannot flee.”