A Grapevine service announcement Be patient: That eruption is expected to last until 2015
News
MPs Argue Over Gaza, Ambassador Responds To Protests

MPs Argue Over Gaza, Ambassador Responds To Protests

Published November 21, 2012

Members of parliament engaged in a heated debate over the current military conflict between Israel and Gaza yesterday. Meanwhile, the US ambassador to Iceland has posted a statement on his blog responding to Monday’s protests.
The Israel/Palestine question can spark rather passionate rhetoric between people, and members of parliament are no exception. DV reports that Independence Party chairman Bjarni Benediktsson set off a heated debate over the issue himself in parliament yesterday.
“The spark that ignited this powder keg came from Hamas,” Bjarni said, adding that Hamas has in the past said that it is their goal to wipe out Israel. “Such a policy I do not understand.” He also said that he believes Iceland should stop pressing for the United Nations to recognise Palestine as a sovereign nation.
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Árni Þór Sigurðsson retorted that Hamas has actually changed their position concerning Israel, wanting peaceful co-existence and putting the onus on Israel to make that happen, but that it remains the policy of Israel to wipe out Palestine.
Social Democrat MP Mörður Árnason responded to Bjarni, saying, “The Israeli Minister of the Interior has said that the purpose of the attacks should be to bomb Gaza back to the Middle Ages,” referring to comments made by Israeli Minister of the Interior Eli Yishai, who indeed did say that the “goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages.”
“And here comes the chairman of the Independence Party saying that Israel should stand by its principles? This is not how people talk, Bjarni!,” Mörður said.
In related news, US ambassador to Iceland Luis E. Arreaga has posted a statement on his blog in response to last Monday’s protests. Here is the statement in full:

Many Icelanders came to the Embassy yesterday to express peacefully their views about the ongoing conflict in Gaza. They asked for the United States to intervene to stop the conflict and prevent the loss of life. The United States favors a lasting peace that includes the creation of a Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel. We also recognize the right of Israel to defend itself against attacks on its population. Both President Obama and Secretary Clinton are indeed engaged and working with leaders in the region to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict. In fact, Secretary Clinton is on her way to the region where she will visit Ramallah, Jerusalem, and Cairo to consult on the situation in the region. She will emphasize the United States’ interest in a peaceful outcome that protects and enhances Israel’s security and regional stability; that can lead to improved conditions for the civilian residents of Gaza; and that can reopen the path to fulfill the aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis for peace and security.



News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Electronic Ballots Could Increase Voter Turn-Out

by

New research shows that offering the option of electronic ballots could increase voter participation. RÚV reports that research conducted by the University of Iceland, the University of Akureyri and doctorate students at the University of Mannheim examined why municipal elections earlier this year saw the lowest voter turn-out since 1928. The most predominant reasons people cited for not voting were a lack of viable options and the belief that one individual can do little to change the status quo. When these non-voters were then asked what could change their minds about going to the polls, most respondents – 65% –

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Iceland’s Next Christmas Tree Found

by

October is barely over, but Norway has already picked the Christmas tree they will be sending to Iceland this year. MBL reports that Reykjavík mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson has received some good news from Oslo. “Oslo has picked the tree to send us this year and the mayor sent me this photo of it,” Dagur wrote in his newsletter. “I really like it, and you can’t help but get in the Christmas spirit just looking at it.” Dagur also confirmed that he will get to cut the tree down himself, and has promised a “chainsaw photo” in his next newsletter.

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Most Icelanders Against Legalising Casinos

by

The vast majority of Icelanders are against a recent proposal to legalise casinos, although that opposition has decreased slightly in the few past years. According to a poll from Market and Media Research, 68.6% of Icelanders are either very opposed or rather opposed to the idea of a casino in Iceland. Those very opposed decreased from 47.5% to 40.1% in July 2011, while at the same time, those rather opposed increased from 21.8% to 28.5%. This opposition was not universal across all demographics. Most men aged 18 to 29 or 30 to 49 were in favour of a casino. Apart

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Police Guns Detained By Toll Authorities Until Proven Gifts

by

The 250 machine guns, recently acquired from the Norwegian army, have been sealed off by toll authorities, who will not deliver them to the Coast Guard until the latter can prove that the weapons were a gift, as its representatives have publicly claimed. According to RÚV, toll authorities locked up and sealed the warehouse in which the weapons are kept, until the Coast Guard can provide such evidence. Whereas the Coast Guard has not provided any proof, toll authorities have a copy of the Norwegian Army’s invoice for the guns, supporting Norway’s claim that the Coast Guard purchased them. If

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Adam Ibrahim Pasha Ends Hunger Strike

by

Adam Ibrahim Pasha has ended his hunger strike. He announced the end of the strike on Thursday evening, his tenth day striking. Pasha took the action to protest against the Directorate of Immigration’s decision not to process his application for asylum in Iceland. In his announcement, Pasha explains that he respects Icelandic authorities and the Directorate of Immigration in particular. He says that he does not want them to feel as if he meant to force their decision, but explains that he took the action out of fear for his own life, if deported. He says that he now considers

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

“To Write A Saga, You Must Kill A Cow”

by

Last night, as reported, director Benedikt Erlingsson and producer Friðrik Þór Friðriksson received the Nordic Council Film Prize for the 2013 comedy “Of Horses and Men”. In his acceptance speech, Benedikt criticized the government for cutting the budget of the Icelandic Film Fund by, he said, 42 percent, this year. Describing the situation as a “catastrophe”, Benedikt announced the presence of Icelandic politicians at the ceremony, and encouraged other members of the audience to pick up the topic in conversations, during the succeeding party. “Talk to them about the Icelandic sagas,” Benedikt said, and continued: “Tell them that we who

Show Me More!