A few days ago, the Norweigan government officially informed the Israeli Embassy in Oslo, Norway that it must move to another location within the year.
The Norwegians claim the embassy poses a security threat to its surroundings and negatively affects residents’ quality of life.
However, a Foreign Ministry official said this incident is the latest in a series of events that have lead to a low in Israeli-Norwegian relations. According to the source, “The Norwegian authorities are capitulating to public opinion that is hostile to Israel and doing everything they can to make things more difficult on the embassy.”
The Israeli ambassador, Michael Eligal, sent a message to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem a message saying embassy employees and staffers were having a difficult time finding a new site. According to him, “The search has been frustrating, to say the least. No one will sell us property.”
The Israeli embassy has been in its current location for the last decade. The only addition that was constructed was a wall that was in accordance with Israeli security standards and was constructed with the permission of the Oslo Municipality. However, the municipality stipulated in the permit that the embassy must move after 10 years and the wall torn down. The owners of the embassy buildings, on the other hand, have no object to extending the lease for another decade.
Over the course of the decade, numerous residents of the upper-class Parkveien neighborhood that also is the home of other diplomats as well as the Norwegian royal family complained about the presence of the consulate, saying the strict security measures and constant protests were interfering with their way of life.
The Embassy has asked for an extension for another two to five years as the move will be expensive and that the time period given by the Oslo Municipality is not long enough.
This is not the first time the Norwegian government has ordered a foreign embassy to move. The American Embassy that was located in Oslo was also forced to move to a different location several years ago.