Prime Minister Sends Letter To Netanyahu

Prime Minister Sends Letter To Netanyahu

Published July 24, 2014

Photos by
Anna Andersen

Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson has sent a strongly-worded letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the subject of the “deeply disturbing” attacks Israel is launching against Gaza, urging for “a peaceful resolution”.

RÚV reports that the office of Netanyahu has confirmed they have received Sigmundur’s letter, which can be read in its entirety below.

In sending the letter, the Prime Minister echoes concerns brought up by other members of the Icelandic government, including Minister of Foreign Affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson. Iceland’s Foreign Affairs Committee will soon meet to discuss the situation and what action to take.

Icelandic public condemnation for the attacks has also been highly visible. Yesterday, about 3,000 Icelanders took part in a “die-in”, in a show of support for the Palestinians who have so far perished in the offensive.

The Icelandic Prime Minister’s letter is as follows:

Prime Minister,

I write this letter to express my Government’s gravest concerns about the situation in Gaza where innocent civilians, including women and children, are dying in large numbers as a result of Israeli military attacks.

As you will be aware of, Iceland is a long standing friend of Israel and was at the forefront at the United Nations when the State of Israel was established in 1948. My government also recognises and respects Israel’s right to defend itself in accordance with international law, including the Charter of the United Nations. Here, Iceland condemns indiscriminate rocket attacks from Hamas and other militant organisations in Gaza against civilian targets in Israel.

However, the use of force by Israeli armed forces must come to an end. The high number of civilian casualties is deeply disturbing and the humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate. Here, Israel’s responsibility with its use of overwhelming military power is particularly alarming and raises grave concerns about respect for the principle of distinction, proportionality and precaution in attacks under international humanitarian law.

A peaceful resolution to the conflict must be found. My government continues to condemn all violence and call for immediate cessation of hostilities by both parties and return to diplomacy. The two-state solution is the only viable way out of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, which has claimed far too many lives for far too many years.

Friends need to be candid with one another. I appeal to you, Prime Minister, to shoulder Israel’s responsibility and call off military offenses in Gaza and allow for humanitarian assistance to take place under safe conditions, and pave the way for further diplomatic efforts towards a more durable solution.

Yours sincerely,
Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson
Prime Minister of Iceland

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