TEL AVIV (Feb. 9)
The Foreign Ministry has called on the United Nations peace-keeping authorities in southern Lebanon to dismiss a Norwegian officer it accuses of makings slurs against Israel.
According to ministry officials, Col. Jan Erik Carlsson, commander of the Norwegian battalion of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, has, despite protests, continued to liken the behavior of the Israel Defense Force in Lebanon to the Nazi occupiers of Norway in World War II.
After the initial furor when his remarks came to light last weekend, the IDF acted on the advice of the Foreign Ministry and played down the incident.
The ministry apparently changed its view.
A spokesman, Alon Liel, said Wednesday night that “in light of the fact that the battalion commander is repeatedly uttering his despicable opinions, Israel expects the UNIFIL command to draw the proper conclusions regarding the officer, as warranted by our mutual desire for cooperation.”
Liel noted that the Norwegian government has expressed reservations over Carlsson’s remarks and Marrack Goulding, the U.N. undersecretary general, has apologized to Israel’s representative at the United Nations in New York, Yohanan Bein.
Carlsson’s offensive comparison was occasioned by the forced evacuation of villagers from Shaba at the eastern end of the southern Lebanon security zone.
The expulsions were carried out by the Israel-backed South Lebanon Army on orders of the IDF.
Carlsson told a group of Israelis and other officers last weekend that they were inhumane and reminiscent of what the Nazis did to Jews in his country during the war.
In a later interview with an Oslo newspaper, the colonel said he had “helped turn the spotlight on the expulsion of innocent inhabitants of south Lebanese villages.”