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Kidnappings Prompt Norway to Postpone PA Donor Conference

Ha’aretz reported Tuesday that the government of Norway has cancelled a conference of donor countries to the Palestinian Authority, which was scheduled for next week.

Norway agreed to postpone the conference, which was to focus on economic development for the PA, after the kidnappings of three Israeli teenagers by the terrorist group Hamas.

The conference was supposed to be held on June 25 in the Norwegian capital, with the participation of high-ranking representatives from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, the United States, the European Union and many other countries. Its main topic: Palestinian economic development. …

The Norwegians continued planning, but things changed once more with the kidnapping of the three Israeli teenagers in Gush Etzion last week, and as Israeli military operations in the West Bank began.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman asked his Norwegian counterpart Børge Brende to postpone the conference until September, around the same time as the United Nations General Assembly meetings. According to Ha’aretz, “Liberman told Brende that the current atmosphere was too tense and not appropriate for holding the event, in Israel’s view.” Neither the PA nor the United States were reported interested in holding the conference at this time.

Norway’s decision to postpone the conference comes at the same time that the European Union belatedly condemned the kidnapping of the teenagers (pdf).

We condemn in the strongest terms the abduction of three Israeli students in the West Bank and call for their immediate release and safe return to their families.
Such acts can only undermine international efforts to encourage a resumption of peace negotiations. We are following developments closely and remain in constant contact with our Israeli and Palestinian counterparts.

[Photo:PA President / YouTube ]