Iceland’s Foreign Minister Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir sent a letter to Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Friday declaring her concern about Deputy Israeli Defense Minister Matan Vilnai’s remarks in a radio interview on Friday.
“By intensifying the rocket fire and extending their reach [Gaza militants] are bringing onto themselves a worse holocaust [‘shoah’ in Hebrew] as we will use all means to defend ourselves,” Vilnai said, according to AFP.
Vilnai has since said that “shoah,” which is the general Hebrew term for “holocaust,” can also mean “disaster,” Fréttabladid reports.
“I am deeply concerned about the development of [the Israel-Palestine conflict] and saddened by the great loss of lives in the Gaza region for the past few days,” Gísladóttir said. “I agree with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that Israel is ignoring the middle course rule with their actions. This conflict will not be solved with military operations.”
The minister is currently away from Iceland and has therefore not responded to the challenge of the Iceland-Palestine Association for Iceland to terminate its diplomatic relations with Israel.
This challenge was brought up at the Althingi parliament yesterday when MP for the Left-Greens Ögmundur Jónasson said that it is indisputable that the Geneva treaty, on protecting the lives of citizens in war, had been violated many times and that Iceland is obligated to react. Terminating diplomatic relations with Israel should even be considered, Jónasson said.
Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde replied that the situation is terrible and that the behavior of Israel is inexcusable, but that terminating diplomatic relations with the nation is not up for discussion. Haarde said Israel was an old friend to the Icelandic nation, “which unfortunately has been dragged into a logjam that we denounce.”
Click here to read about Iceland’s Foreign Minister’s official visit to Israel last summer.