Embassy wins another reprieve

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Israel’s embassy in Oslo has once again been allowed to retain a controversial security wall around the property, but only for another two years. The wall, which violates building codes and was erected illegally in 1999, has long irritated neighbors.

City planning officials ultimately allowed the Israelis to keep their wall, but only on the condition it was “temporary” and would need to be torn down by February 2010. Embassy officials responded by applying recently for a six-year extension.

The city initially turned them down, noting the embassy has had more than 10 years to find a more secure location. The embassy has sought help from Norway’s Foreign Ministry, which is obligated to assist foreign missions, and the ministry claims the Israelis are now actively looking for a new embassy location. In the meantime, they want to stay put with their wall intact.

Newspaper Aften now reports that city officials have relented. They say the Israelis are finally making “real” attempts to find an alternative location. The city officials deny they were pressured by the Foreign Ministry into allowing another exception to local building codes.

Views and News staff