COPENHAGEN (Oct. 15)
The chief of Norway’s security police has resigned under a storm of criticism for having agents of Mossad, the Israeli secret service, interrogate 10 Palestinians seeking asylum in Norway.
An explanation was demanded by Justice Minister Karey Gjesteby, and sharp protests were raised by representatives of Amnesty International and the Institute of Human Rights in Oslo.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Thorvald Stoltenberg condemned the incident. He said it was inconsistent with Norway’s foreign policy and “must not be repeated.”
The security chief, Svein Urdal, said he took responsibility for the incident. He said the security police requested Arabic-speaking Mossad agents to quiz the Palestinians in their own language.
They said they were members of the Palestine Liberation Organization who defected from Yasir Arafat’s Al Fatah wing of the PLO because it wanted them to serve as mercenaries for Iraq in the Persian Gulf War.
About 100 Palestinians arrived in Norway last winter seeking asylum, and more than 100 went to Denmark where their request was initially rejected.
The Mossad agents who questioned the Palestinians in Oslo were not identified as such but as “language experts.” The Norwegian security police, who do not understand Arabic, relied on the Israeli version of the question-and-answer session, which the police called “conversations” between them and the PLO.
Meanwhile, 125 Palestinian refugees are waiting in Copenhagen, under the protection of a Danish church, for a final decision on their appeal for asylum. The case is currently under review by the National Assembly’s ombudsman.