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Envoy Apologizes for Remarks on Israeli Occupation

February 18, 1988|United Press International

JERUSALEM — The Norwegian ambassador to Israel apologized Wednesday for confusion about a statement comparing the Nazi occupation of Norway and Israel's presence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Ambassador Torleiv Anda was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday by Director General Yossi Beilin to discuss statements to reporters Tuesday night in Haifa.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Anda as saying: "What the Germans did, including beating and torturing prisoners and suspects, was very bad. But we do not remember them going out into the streets to break people's arms and legs or pulling children out of their homes at night.

"Norwegians did not expect such things from Israelis, and it has left a deep impression. One doesn't like people who behave like that."

Anda said Wednesday he had not meant to compare Israel to Nazi Germany, adding that the confusion might have occurred because he was speaking in English.

"I am very sorry that I left the impression that I intended to compare the regime in Nazi Germany with the Israeli regime in the occupied territories. That was very far from my intention," he told state-run Israel Radio.

"I know a little about the Nazi regime, as I was a victim myself and spent some time in Buchenwald concentration camp," he said in a later interview. "I have a pretty good idea about the atrocities they performed and it goes without saying there's no comparison."

Anda, 67, was a member of the Norwegian underground during World War II. He was arrested in 1944 and spent several months in the Nazi concentration camp.

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