Israel Resource Review 29th April, 2002


UN "Fact Finding" Team to Israel, April, 2002:
Inquiry or Inquisition?
Sara Bedein

The UN fact-finding team investigating the events in the Jenin refugee camp was due to arrive in Israel on Sunday after a short delay, following two days of consultations between Israeli representatives and the UN on changing the committee's mandate.

Israel originally gave a green light to a fact-finding mission Friday April 19th, then requested a postponement, to seek changes in the team's composition and mandate, after UN Secretary General Kofi Annan announced the members of the team on Monday April 22nd.

There are three issues on the table: the team's remit, its professional members, and the witness and testimony procedures.

Terms of Reference

The official reason for the consultations was that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan had altered the fact-finding mission's terms of reference from strictly fact-finding to issues linked to other agendas, on which Israel had not been consulted for consent.

Generally, a Fact-Finding Committee is mandated to document events and evidence, and make a summary of these facts; it should be impartial in its acceptance of evidence, but relate only to the area on which it has been empowered. Such a team does not present conclusions, leaving these to other instances.

As these conditions were modified, with Anan calling on the panel 'to be guided by UN resolutions in producing its conclusion, while the team's evidence hearing terms were changed to a selective agenda, Israel became gravely concerned at the ramifications. First and foremost was that this might lead to a recommendation that Annan set up an International Commission of Inquiry - which would mean that depositions might subsequently be used in a War Crimes Trial against individual soldiers, or Israeli government figures. It also left the way open for a UN dispatch of international observers.

The UN agreed to delay the mission's departure by 24 hours, after Israel said that the government needed to hold further discussions on the matter, and that this could not be done during the Sabbath. The cabinet met on Sunday to decide whether to cooperate with a UN fact-finding team investigating the battle in Jenin.

In Washington, Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Gordon Smith (R-Oregon) expressed their displeasure with the UN's failure to hold the Palestinians accountable for what transpired in Jenin.

The team's arrival was further postponed after the Israeli Cabinet discussed the full implications and legal counsel requirements for witnesses, and following US approval of Israel's agreement on US-British supervised imprisonment for the assassins of Minister Rehavam Zeevi (z"l).

Israel is demanding that the committee deal solely with clarifying the facts, as was determined by the UN Security Council decision, rather than drawing conclusions or making recommendations, especially ones that could result in prosecutions.

Israel is also demanding that the mission look not only at the humanitarian issue, but also the terrorist groups who have used the camp as a base for suicide bombings and has demanded that the UN report present facts and no conclusions, especially ones that could result in prosecutions. "We want to resolve this," said Aaron Jacob, Israel's deputy UN ambassador. "The focus should not be only on the Israeli military operation, but also on why and how civilians in the refugee camp were allowed to become a center of terrorist activities."

* Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said on Israel Radio Sunday morning that Israel must cooperate with the UN fact-finding committee in order to prove that the IDF did not carry out a massacre in the refugee camp, as the Palestinians have claimed.

"The Palestinians are claiming 3,000 civilians killed, while we know of seven. […] But Israel will determine who will testify on its behalf. That is a central issue."

Committee Membership

The members of the team consist of former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, chairman; Cornelio Sommaruga, a former president of the International Committee of the Red Cross; and Sadako Ogata, a former UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

"The composition of the committee was decided without our consultation or agreement," said a government official last week. "We are a sovereign country and do not have to accept these kinds of dictates."

* Israel, according to this official, is also unhappy that three of the four members of the committee are political officials, rather than military officers trained in analyzing battlefield events in a detached manner.

Subsequently, Israel requested that the team's military adviser, retired US Maj.-Gen. William Nash, be made a full team member. Annan refused, and Nash remains an adviser.

UN spokesman Fred Eckhard confirmed that United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who met Thursday April 25th at the UN headquarters in New York with a legal delegation from Jerusalem, has added Peter Fitzgerald of Ireland as a police adviser, to the mission together with another military adviser following a request by Israel, and this was also stated by Anan on Friday.

Special Grounds for Objection

When UN Secretary General Kofi Annan announced the composition of his fact-finding team on Monday night, the inclusion of the former president of the International Red Cross, Cornelio Sommaruga was a major cause of distress in Jerusalem.

Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote an article two years ago on the controversy regarding the black-balling of the Magen David Adom symbol at the ICRC, where the Star of David is not a recognized symbol. At the AIPAC Conference in Los Angeles, Bernadine Healy, who was President of the American Red Cross in 1999, confirmed the story. Following her speech to her Federation that year, criticizing the ICRC's continued and inexcusable exclusion of Israel's emergency medical service symbol, the Red Star of David, Mr Sommaruga said (as quoted by Krauthammer),

"If we're going to have the Shield of David, why would we not have to accept the swastika?"

On a not so Tangential Note?

To the foreign observer, there may be nothing wrong with sending a Panel of experts to Jenin, and objections might be centered on the fact that the present committee does not have any experts as full members.

However, Israel sees this within the context of Arafat's campaign to internationalize the jurisdiction of the conflict, supported by the Europeans. That, it feels, would be an infringement of Israeli sovereignty; moreover, the Peacekeeping and Observer forces have exhibited indifference to incidents against Israelis (which their remits do not cover), and infringement of their own impartiality in collaboration with Hizbullah.

The UN Record on Incidents and Evidence

  • Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer accused the Palestinians of committing a massacre in attacks on an Israeli nightclub in Tel Aviv and in other places.
    "In the last month, 137 (Israeli) people were slaughtered and almost 700 were wounded. Is anyone investigating that?" he asked.

  • The U.N. has consistently allied itself with terror organizations, like the PLO and Hizbullah, witholding material evidence from the world, which would help capture known terrorists.

  • The most recent example of the U.N.'s flagrantly biased policy against Israel is the concealment and vehement denial of the videotape taken by the U.N. Peacekeeping Forces in Lebanon of Hizbullah's abduction of 3 Israeli soldiers in October 2000.
    For 11 months the U.N. lied to the world and denied existence of any evidence related to the abduction.
    Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is on a mission to enlist support for Israel in the US, says, "The UN has proven its bias by its failure to examine an endless number of terror attacks against Israel," and that the UN had withheld information and misled Israel about the abduction of three soldiers by Hizbullah.

  • Moreover, when the lie was exposed, and the world pressured the UN to reveal their evidence to Israel, they refused to do so. Eventually, the U.N. insisted they would only show an edited videotape with the faces of the terrorists blurred.
    When asked the reason behind this, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan stated it was due to the U.N.'s standing as a neutral organization.

  • There have also been allegations that the UN Peacekeeping Forces in Lebanon were paid huge sums of money by Hizbullah for the use of U.N. uniforms and jeeps in the abduction.

Points to Ponder

1. There have been many examples from around the world of persecution of / atrocities against civilian populations, yet the UN has maintained silence on all these issues.

Why does this happen?
What large-scale events do you think the UN should be investigating right now?
What should other countries be saying and doing about these violations?
The examples below include Muslim countries, forms of dictatorships and transition-stage governments, with one exception. Why are they not condemned?


a. Basques separatists (ETA) - bombing Spanish civilians.

b. N. Africa - Islamic Fundamentalists - slaughter of 100,000 Berbers.

c. Communist China - violations of human rights of Tibetan refugees, destruction of their culture, and illegal occupation of their land.

d. China - slaughtered 1.8 million Tibetans.

e. Chechnya - Russian slaughtering of Chechen guerillas.

f. Zimbabwe - President and government continue to abuse and torture white farmers.

g. Sudan - continued attacks launched against the Christian Sudanese by the Muslim Sudanese, the latter slaying 200,000 of the former.

h. UN - in the draft declaration for their well publicized "Elimination of all Forms of Racism Conference" in Durban last year, there is no mention of gross human rights violations by Islamic countries towards their citizens, in general, and those of other religions, in particular (while alleging Israel was an "apartheid state").

i. USA - accidental killing of civilians during bombing over Afghanistan.

2. Arab media accounts of the battle in the Jenin refugee camp were translated by MEMRI and give interviews with gunmen and open accounts of terrorist-laid booby traps. and Jonathan Cook published a similar interview for Al Ahram (Egypt).

Hold the internal Palestinian versions against what the western media are reporting and evaluate the differences.
What grounds are there from this for a Fact-Finding Committee?
How do you rate the Committee's chances of and competence in receiving and analyzing factual evidence impartially?
Draw conclusions and recommendations.

3. Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposed the acceptance of the UN committee, telling Israel Radio last week that it, "will produce results that will damage Israel. It is completely illegitimate."

To which two separate issues is he referring?
Is it helpful to place these issues side by side?
Do you agree with either, or both, of these statements & and why/not?

4. The UN condemns and singles out the State of Israel disproportionately; it is the only democracy in a region of Arab dictatorships, but accused of engaging in "discrimination" and "racism".

What is your theory?
How has this been taken up elsewhere?
What pro-active and reactive measures do you recommend?

The UN from the Inside - The Mathematical Approach


Tiny Israel has but one vote at the United Nations Assembly.

The United States of America, despite being the largest financial contributor (30%) and despite its large population (270 million) , also have only one single vote.

Muslim countries enjoy over 40 votes.

Arab countries with a population of about 300-400 million have over 20 votes.

India, with a population of 1 billion, has only one vote.


India receives much less financial aid from the U.N. than 2 million Palestinians who receive $2 billion per annum.

Does this largesse have something to do with the majority of the voters being from Arab and Muslim countries at the U.N.?

Or is it possibly linked to the anti-Hindu sentiment prevalent in Muslim countries?

Human Rights Commission

This year, America was kicked off the UN Commission for Human Rights, despite being one of the most outspoken countries for advocating Human Rights for all people. It was replaced by Sierra Leone and the Sudan, who both have an "impeccable" record of abuses of human rights, including slavery and child soldiers. Why?

For more ideas, see


Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website

Bernadine Healy's speech to AIPAC 2002: transcript slated to appear on the website at

Unbalanced Mission to Jenin

Editorial, The Washington Post, Friday, April 26, 2002; Page A28

UN fact-finders ignoring obvious

Chicago Sun-Times, Editorial, April 25, 2002

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Terror Tariffs: Documents Seized at Arafat's HQ
Smadar Peri
Correspondent, Yediot Aharonot

USD $300 for a Junior Terrorist, USD $800 for a Senior Shahid

On April 1, 2001, the Fatah secretary general in Tulkarm, Faik Kanaan, sent a letter signed by himself to PA Chairman Yasser Arafat. "We request," he wrote on official stationary at the top of which "State of Palestine" appears, "to allocate a sum of USD 2,000 for each of the fighting brothers whose names follow below."

The document contains the names of 15 "fighting brothers" found worthy of funding. The list includes, among others, Mohammed Fares, who committed a shooting attack in the Tulkarm area, Karim el-Jilad, who took part in shooting attacks, Bilal Abu-Amsha who took part in fatal terror attacks in September and the murder of a Jew in Baka Gharbiya in May 2001, and Bilal Abu Aisha, who took part in shooting attacks in the Tulkarm area.

The letter was first passed to the Tanzim secretary general, Marwan Barghouti, who added his signature. Arafat decided to reduce the "bonus" and instead of USD 2,000, he wrote in his own hand, "let the Finance Ministry pay USD 800 to each of them." The date near Arafat's signature is April 5, 2001.

The hierarchy goes through the Fatah office in Tulkarm to the Tanzim secretary general in Ramallah, Barghouti, and from there to Arafat, who is shown to be involved in small sums. Arafat is the one who decides the amount to be paid to the "fighting brothers."

On January 17, 2002, Arafat also found the time to handle another payment for the "fighting brothers:" This time, the hierarchy is more complicated: Raed Karmi (who was the leader of the Fatah-Tanzim in Tulkarm until his assassination) sent a fax to Marwan Barghouti's office in Ramallah asking for urgent monetary aid. On the list of "recommended" are the names of Jamil Hamed Atwan, Majed Yousef Jarad, Subhi Yousef Jarad and Mohammed Sharif Zaidan, all Fatah activists known to the Israeli security establishment for their involvement in lethal terror attacks. After reading the document, Barghouti comments in his own writing: "To my respected brother Abu Amar, may God keep you, greetings, I request you order an allocation of 1,000 dollars to each of the fighters." Arafat, however, on January 17,2002, decides to save money: he writes to the Palestinian Finance Ministry in Ramallah: "Allocate only USD 350 to each of them."

Another document, from February 14, 2002, highlights the involvement of the Palestinian General Intelligence, commanded by Tawfik Tirawi, in efforts to cover up the link between a woman suicide bomber and Fatah. On official "Palestinian National Authority, Preventive Security Service Headquarters, Ramallah" (whose commander is Jibril Rajoub) stationary, under the classification "important," Amana Aidaya of the Political Security Organization reports on Tirawi's efforts to cover up the link between Wafa Idris, who committed the terror attack on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem, and Fatah.

"Regarding: Special information on the shahid Wafa Idris.
"On the night that it was revealed that the person who committed the attack was Wafa Idris, and before any organization claimed responsibility for it, the commander of General Intelligence on the West Bank, Colonel Tawfik Tirawi, phoned Khalil Idris, the shahid's elder brother, a number of times. He (Tirawi) asked him that the family not say that Wafa (who was affiliated with Fatah) had committed the attack, but say instead that she had gotten married and moved to Jordan or somewhere else. In exchange, Tirawi is willing to let Khalil move to Jordan even though he is officially on Israel's list of wanted men. But Khalil replied that he was unwilling to 'sell' his sister's blood this way."

Thousands of documents were seized by the security forces in the course of Operation Protective Wall from Palestinian intelligence offices in West Bank cities and in the mukataa in Ramallah where Arafat is being held. A special sorting team, that was enlisted to handle the papers, has already put some of them on a special computer program, sorted by subject and by the names appearing in them. Those with access can come, say the name of the Fatah or Hamas activist they want, and get the information. The material, a small part of which is already on the IDF Spokesman's Office Internet site, is also meant for the Israeli and foreign media.

Another part, more classified, was shown to foreign intelligence agents, including the CIA and some European attaches. In two separate meetings held by Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer's adviser with representatives from the Egyptian and Jordanian ambassadors, he showed them documents from Arafat's office and from Palestinian Preventive Intelligence, proving Arafat's links and involvement in funding the Palestinian terror infrastructure against Israel. The two senior diplomats, Dr. Maazen Tal from the Jordanian embassy, and Dr. Ihab Sharif, the Egyptian representative, tried to hide their amazement. "How can we be sure," they both asked, "that these documents are not forged?"

Along with Arafat's direct involvement in funding and helping the terror infrastructure of Fatah, the Tanzim and the El-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, as proven by his signature on the letters of request, the system is also revealed:

  1. Arafat makes use of the PA organization to transfer sums of money. The funding is done by means of a civil organization: the Palestinian Finance Ministry. Arafat, according to some documents, makes a great deal of use of Fuad Shubaki, the head of the General Security's financial administration and his confidant, who was also involved in the purchase of the Karine-A weapons ship.

  2. There is a "tariff" set by Arafat for funding terror: a junior terrorist is paid by the Palestinian Finance Ministry after an order is given, with Arafat's signature, of between USD 300-350. More senior commanders (local commanders of terror infrastructure) receive USD 600. The families of shahids-commanders get USD 800 per family, as a one-time "bonus," beyond their regular aid. For large "projects," such as setting up a workshop for manufacturing weapons, a standard rate of USD 800,000 is set.

  3. Arafat is not directly in contact with the commanders of the terror cells and the terror organizations on the ground, but does this through "middlemen." The documents mention: Marwan Barghouti, Hussein a-Sheikh, Kamal Hamid (Fatah secretary general in Bethlehem) and Fuad Shubaki.

  4. Arafat does not generally disqualify those "recommended" but definitely uses his own judgment when it comes to the amount of payment. He regularly "cuts" the sums requested drastically. USD 2,000 is asked for a "fighting brother," and USD 600 is given. When USD 1,300 is asked, Arafat approves USD 350. The list of "recommended" includes "fighters" who have already committed acts of terror, and others, who should be paid prior to committing an act.

The documents seized in Ramallah, Bituniya and Tulkarm indicate intensive preoccupation of the security organization in mutual surveillance. Jibril Rajoub, so it turns out, kept discreet surveillance even on his boss, Arafat. Documents found in Rajoub's headquarters also show a discreet cooperation between Rajoub and Salah Taamri, today the mediator to release the armed men in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Rajoub also monitored his colleague in Gaza, Mohammed Dahlan, and filed the reports. The Preventive Security Service in Ramallah also kept surveillance on Abu Ala and Nabil Shaath. A special surveillance was reserved for Palestinians with foreign citizenship, as well as for Palestinians who often traveled to Jordan, on suspicion that they had been enlisted by the Jordanian intelligence to spy on the PA. A thick file was found in Rajoub's office on the person who was head of Jordanian intelligence, General Samih el-Batihi, who was arrested two months ago on suspicion of involvement in the defrauding of four state banks in Amman. A long list of documents indicates the "top trio" who were in the know about the secret of the anonymous back accounts opened in Switzerland and in South America: Yasser Arafat, Farouk Kadumi (now mentioned as Arafat's successor) and Umm Jihad, the minister for social affairs and the widow of Abu Jihad assassinated by Israel in Tunis.

On July 9, 2001, Kamal Hamid, the Fatah secretary general in Bethlehem, sent a letter of request to Arafat to allocate funds to 24 Fatah activist, the most prominent of them being Atef Abayat, a senior Fatah activist. Hamid asked for USD 2,000 for each of them. Arafat erased the amount, and wrote to the Finance Ministry in Ramallah: "Give each USD 300." Arafat's signature appears beside the date, August 12, 2001, a month after the request was submitted. Atef Abayat was assassinated on October 18 and three weeks after this, Hamid again appealed to Arafat with a new list. This time he asks for USD 3,000 for each of the nine families of shahids "who fell in battle protecting Beit Jala, Bethlehem and el-Aida." Topping the list is "the family of shahid Atef Abayat." Ending the list is "brother shahid" Hassan Abu Shaira, who was involved in the murder of Lt.-Col. Yehuda Edri on June 14, 2001 and killed in the course of that incident. Arafat approved only USD 800.

The funding system indicates two ways of payment: the PA would send money to the civilian administration offices, the schools, and welfare projects in shekels. The funding of more sensitive matters, i.e. maintaining the terror infrastructure, was done in dollars. Israeli security sources say the money came from the regular monthly aid sent by the European Union to the Palestinian Authority of 40 million euro. "The documents prove what we knew before Operation Protective Wall: instead of using the aid for the civil population in the territories, the PA offices used at least part of the aid to fund terror infrastructure, and to cover it, they would send a false report to the international supervisory foundations with inflated figures."

One document seized by the IDF in the mukataa is of a financial report of the El-Aksa Martyrs Brigades from September 2001, with a list of accumulated debts of the organization, which is subordinate to Fatah.

  1. The cost of posters of El-Aksa Martyrs Brigades fallen: Azzam Mazhar, Osama Jabara, Shadi Afouri, Yasser Badawi, Ahed Fares (added in handwriting: NIS 2,000 just for printing).

  2. The cost of printing ads, ordering them and putting up booths for the dead (added in handwriting: NIS 1,250).

  3. The cost of posting personal pictures of the fallen on wooden boards, in addition to the pictures of fallen Thabet Thabet and Mahmoud el-Jamil (added in handwriting: NIS 1,000).

  4. The cost of memorials for the fallen (added in handwriting: NIS 6,000).

  5. The cost of electrical appliances and various chemical substances to manufacture bombs and explosives: the cost of one bomb, of course, is at least NIS 700. We need five to nine bombs a week for cells in various areas (added in handwriting: NIS 5,000 a week, NIS 20,000 a month).

  6. The cost of bullets (Kalashnikov bullets are NIS 7-8 per bullet. M-16 bullets cost NIS 2.5 per bullet). We need bullets daily.

  7. Note: 3,000 Kalashnikov bullets can be obtained at a price of NIS 7.5 per bullet and 30,000 M-16 bullets can be obtained for NIS 2 per bullet. We need this sum to be transferred immediately. (Added in handwriting: NIS 22,500 for Kalashnikov bullets and NIS 6,000 for M-16 bullets).

In another document, also seized in the mukataa, in Fuad Shubaki's offices, is the budget for setting up a workshop for manufacturing heavy weapons. The required investment is USD 100,000 and the running expenses are estimated at USD 15,000 per month. The largest expenses are for a lathe (USD 25,000) and a milling machine (USD 40,000).

Three senior officials in different branches of the intelligence community who were given a photocopied and translated copy of the documents told Yedioth Ahronoth this week: "We weren't surprised. Arafat was sunk in the terror swamp in a way he cannot deny. We know about Arafat's personal involvement in funding the terror infrastructure, in guiding it, in encouraging it, in giving out the money. And still, it is astonishing, to see it with our own eyes in black and white, in all the smallest details."

this piece ran in Yediot Aharonot on April 29, 2002

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Bedein Reveals:
Peres Center Gave Larsen $100,000
Lamia Lahoud And Herb Keinon
Correspondents, The Jerusalem Post

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres is expected to decide tomorrow, when he returns from Spain, whether to take steps against UN Middle East envoy Terje Larsen for comments he made slamming the IDF's operation in Jenin.

Foreign Ministry legal adviser Alan Baker yesterday presented Peres with four options regarding Larsen: calling him in for a reprimand, writing a letter of censure to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, declaring him persona non grata, or taking no action at all.

Baker said he made no recommendation to Peres on what action to take.

Peres made it clear on Sunday, following harsh criticism of Larsen in the cabinet meeting, that he does not think the UN envoy should be expelled from the country.

Following Peres's defense of Larsen, the weekend newspaper Makor Rishon announced it will publish in its upcoming issue an investigative report exposing that in 1999 the Peres Center for Peace presented Larsen and his wife Mona Juul, the Norwegian ambassador to Israel, with a gift of $100,000 in cash.

According to the report, authored by David Bedein, in 1999 the Peres Center, in an unprecedented move, gave Larsen and Juul checks for $50,000 each. Center director Ron Pundak, who together with Peres and Larsen was one of the architects of the Oslo process, confirmed the Makor Rishon report.

Meanwhile, Larsen said he stood by his comments.

Jerusalem Post, April 23, 2002

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Ambassador Juul May Possibly be Called Home
Rolleive Solholm
Correspondent, Norway News

According to Norwegian media, Mona Juul now faces the risk of beeing recalled from her position as Norway's Ambassador to Israel.

The Foreign Office is considering using the Foreign Service Act to recall Juul, after she failed to formally inform the department about the cash involved when she received the peace prize from the Peres Centre in 1999, NRK Radio reports.

According to the Foreign Service Act, employees in the Foreign Service must accept a change in jobs, if the department so decides.

Foreign Minister January Petersen says this case is very special.

-"That is why we have spent considerable time checking and double checking the facts, in order that we may be certain of the actual circumstances and the juridical evaluations of the case, Petersen says to NRK".

However, Petersen refuses to speculate around whether or not it will be decided to recall ambassador Juul.

"It would be wrong of me to speculate before we have concluded, Petersen says".

This article ran on the April 29th issue of the Norway News

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Peres Prize Money:
Breach of Civil Service Act by Juul and Roed-Larsen
Rolleiv Solholm
Correspondent, Norway Post

The Norwegian Department of Foreign Affairs (UD) is of the opinion that Norway's Ambassador to Israel, Mona Juul, and UN Envoy Terje Roed-Larsen contravened the Civil Service Act when they failed to inform the department of the cash involved in the peace prize awarded by the Peres Peace Centre in 1999.

The two each received a cheque in the amount of US$ 50,000, as part of the prize awarded for their contribution towards the process which resulted in the so-called Oslo Accord.

Terje Roed-Larsen says he strongly regrets that he failed to inform the department about the cash involved. -"At the same time I want to underline that I was not aware that such a set of rules existed, until I was informed of the department's decision today", he said to NRK TV on Monday afternoon.

He added that the prizes were awarded in public, and with full media coverage, and that he never had made any attempt at keeping the prizes a secret.

UD spokesman Karsten Klepsvik says to NRK TV that the Department should have been informed about the prizes.

The Department will now consider whether or not Ambassador Juul will be given any disiplinary penalties, possibly in the form of a reprimand.

This article ran in the Norway Post on April 29, 2002

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How the Norwegian Media Covered Larsen's Resignation

The Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo Press Division

Norway Daily No. 227-31/96 OeW/kj

Date: 25 November 1996

Opposition Demands Full Disclosure (Arbeiderbladet)

Terje Roed-Larsen is taking a break from the media until the tax office has re-examined his case. The opposition, however, strongly advises him to bring all the facts out into the open immediately. Several items of information have turned up in the course of the weekend indicating major discrepancies between Mr. Roed-Larsen's statements and documents from his period in the Fideco enterprise. But the role of the tax office is now being viewed with mounting interest, and the question of why it did not assess the profit made by Mr. Roed- Larsen on the sale of his shareholdings as taxable income.

Union Boss Urges Roed-Larsen to Consider Resignation (Dagbladet)

Kjell Bjoerndalen, head of the powerful Norwegian United Federation of Trade Unions, asks Planning Minister Terje Roed- Larsen to consider resigning. "He must weigh the situation very carefully and do what is best for the Government," he says. Labour's central executive committee will meet this afternoon to discuss two issues: the troublesome budget situation and Mr. Roed-Larsen's predicament.

Worth Noting Text that may have been struck out of Terje Roed-Larsen's options agreement eight months after the date of the agreement may constitute new information which will make it necessary to reassess his taxes. (Verdens Gang)

Date: 26 November 1996

Labour Digging in its Heels (Arbeiderbladet)

Prime Minister Thorbjoern Jagland and Finance Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who are also chairman and deputy chairman respectively of the Labour Party, were assured the full backing of the party's national executive committee yesterday in pursuing a tough budget strategy. The need to rein in a galloping economy has increased further since the budget was presented in October. The Labour Government is therefore prepared to reject every one of the Storting's budget measures with the exception of approximately NOK 2.2 billion in additional funding for health and the elderly. They plan to raise indirect taxes in an effort to check the surge in private spending, and they are renewing their warnings not to touch petroleum revenues.

Jagland Calls For Full Disclosure (Aftenposten)

During yesterday's press conference, Prime Minister Thorbjoern Jagland was confronted with the fact that Terje Roed-Larsen's lawyers cite case documents that they refuse to lay before the public. "Of course they must back up their words," replied Mr. Jagland. The PM suggested that another statement from Mr. Roed-Larsen will be forthcoming, but he did not say whether it should come before or after the tax office has reviewed his assessment. He felt the review should be carried out promptly.

Today's Comment

Many serious voices are now calling for Planning Minister Terje Roed-Larsen to step down. It is said that his credibility and authority are now impaired, detracting from confidence in the Government. There are a number of good reasons for keeping him on, though. In the context of the situation at hand, Prime Minister Thorbjoern Jagland's references to the rule of law are beside the point, of course. They merely indicate that the PM is unable to tackle difficult situations. The tax offices are not and should not be the proper venue for handing down judgements defining the public confidence in our politicians. The deciding issue is whether Mr. Roed-Larsen has performed his duty to the voters in good faith after taking on the duties of his office. Most of the signs indicate that this is not the case. Ministers who must resort to lawyers to provide their explanations, and whose memories are as selective as Mr. Roed-Larsen's gain neither confidence nor honour. If Mr. Roed-Larsen stays on, the Prime Minister and the rest of his Government could possibly find themselves in a weaker position when dealing with the failings of the business world. Mr. Jagland still seems to view stock options in a negative light, but his disapproval is likely to take somewhat milder forms if Mr. Roed-Larsen remains in office. Taking one thing with the other, Mr. Roed-Larsen's presence could lead to a Government that is less disparaging and arrogant and more understanding and tolerant. This would certainly be a step forward. Nor would it be amiss if his presence contributed to a defeat at the ballot-box. (Dagens Naeringsliv)

Date: 27 November, 1996

Roed-Larsen Started the Ball Rolling (Verdens Gang)

In the current controversy surrounding Terje Roed-Larsen's financial affairs, it was Mr. Roed-Larsen himself who first set in motion the whole process that may bring his service in Thorbjoern Jagland's government to a premature end. Having met tax auditor Roy Kristensen on several occasions in Oslo restaurants, Mr. Roed-Larsen set forth a number of glaring accusations of misconduct in Bird Technology, conveying a shocking impression of the activities of central people in the Bird organization. The accusations were so alarming that Mr. Kristensen and his colleague, Sigurd Botnen, proceeded to conduct a full audit, according to a newswatch programme aired on NRK1 (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) last night.

Allegations from Bird Technology (Aftenposten)

Senior officials at Bird Technology allege that Terje Roed- Larsen antedated his options agreement, provided false information on its content, and never exercised his option - all contrary to what he has stated.

Roed-Larsen Affair a Difficult Political Issue (NTB)

Prime Minister Thorbjoern Jagland admits that the latest developments in the Roed-Larsen affair have made the matter difficult to deal with politically. Questioned upon his return from a visit to Stockholm this morning, Mr. Jagland told an NRK news team that the case is becoming quite serious. "The latest allegations have given things a new turn," he says, adding that he still does not have all the information. "The case has so many aspects and any number of approaches, and so many allegations have been made that I cannot take a stand on it right at the moment," he says.

Worth Noting

  • Key documents have disappeared from the files of the Directorate of Taxes and the Oslo Tax Office. There are rumours that these documents have been removed from the archives. One of the missing documents is the statement submitted by Terje Roed-Larsen in 1988. (Dagbladet)

  • Norwegian Federation of Trade Unions (LO) president Yngve Haagensen has complete confidence in Terje Roed-Larsen. He takes the view that the Minister of Planning may remain in office even if he is proven to have committed punishable offences. (Aftenposten)

  • Arent M. Henriksen, Socialist Left politician and mayor of Bjugn, will take over after January Reinaas as chairman of the board of the Norwegian State Railway (NSB). This news is viewed with optimism by employees. (NTB)

  • With the recent period of growth in the stock market, the value of the government's bank equities is now higher than the amount spent by the government shoring up the banking industry. Taking interest into account, however, the government is at the break-even point. (NTB)

Today's Comment

The turn of events has now become so acute that Terje Roed- Larsen must give a full, documented account of his entire Fideco dealings. The gravity of the documented facts of the matter is mounting day by day, to the point where Mr. Roed- Larsen is now being accused of unlawful conduct. In a situation of this nature, the various people involved may have obvious as well as concealed reasons for either letting things out or keeping tight. All this aside, there is no point whatever in waiting until the case is reviewed by various tax authorities. Mr. Roed-Larsen had best lay all the facts on the table right now. The four statements he has already issued have given rise to more questions than they have answered; the urgent need for a clarification is of Mr. Roed-Larsen's own doing. If he does not perceive this, the Prime Minister should explain it to him immediately. Thorbjoern Jagland can no longer disregard the mounting backlog of unanswered questions. Neither should he consign the fate of his Planning Minister to the outcome of a tax assessment review. (Dagbladet)

Date: 28 November 1996

"I do not deserve this . . ." (Arbeiderbladet)

Terje Roed-Larsen was unable to conceal his embitterment following the official news conference at which he announced his resignation. The Fideco affair was his downfall, despite his adamant insistence that he is guilty of no wrongdoing. Yngve Haagensen continues to maintain his unreserved support for Mr. Roed-Larsen, prompting reactions even among his own people. The National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime will now investigate all aspects of the Roed-Larsen affair, but Anstein Gjengedal denies that the decision to investigate was a result of Government pressure. If it conclusive proof is found that Mr. Roed-Larsen antedated his options agreements, he could risk a jail sentence.

Roed-Larsen Forced To Go (Verdens Gang)

Right up to yesterday morning, Planning Minister Terje Roed- Larsen was still prepared to fight for his political life. After several talks with Prime Minister Thorbjoern Jagland, however, he realized that his term of office was over. "As matters now stand, we had no choice. There are now allegations of illegal conduct, which is quite a different matter from the tax reassessment and the other things that have appeared in print lately. We talked the matter over, listened to each other's advice, and exercised reason. It was not difficult for him to come to a conclusion," said Mr. Jagland at yesterday's press conference.

Jagland Government Weakened (Aftenposten)

The entire Storting opposition concludes that this affair has weakened Thorbjoern Jagland's Government. "Tragedy", "lamentable" and "unfortunate" are terms used by many opposition politicians in commenting on Mr. Roed-Larsen's departure yesterday. "The Government is in a weaker position, and we should take a closer look at the whole complex of connections between the unions, the Institute of Applied Social Sciences, the Labour Party and business," says Conservative party chairman January Petersen. "This is a major personal tragedy for Terje Roed-Larsen, and a bad day for Norwegian politics," is the comment of Socialist Left chairman Erik Solheim. "Terje Roed-Larsen himself is chiefly to blame, yet it is obvious that the Government has lost one of its most fascinating members," says Lars Sponheim, chairman of the Liberal Party. "It is clear to us now that our prime minister is not very good at crisis management," says Progress party chairman Carl I. Hagen. "It was necessary for Terje Roed- Larsen to step down for his own good and for the good of the Government", says Kjell Magne Bondevik, parliamentary leader for the Christian Democrats. "The Government's entire inaugural address was based on the house of Norway into the next century. This project cannot be put aside now," says Johan J. Jakobsen, parliamentary leader for the Centre Party.

Today's Comment

The papers agree that Planning Minister Terje Roed-Larsen had no choice but to step down after further details of his involvement in the Fideco affair were made public. They do not share Mr. Roed-Larsen's view that he did not deserve the sort of exit to which he has been subject. Aftenposten states that the course of events in the so-called Roed-Larsen affair left no other option open. For Prime Minister Thorbjoern Jagland, having to dismiss a minister in whom he had invested so much prestige was a major political defeat. According to Verdens Gang, Mr. Roed-Larsen's tragic exit has left the Norwegian labour movement with an ugly wound that will be long in healing. Politically and morally, the whole affair leaves Mr. Jagland and his Government in a weaker position. The paper characterizes the affair as a personal tragedy for Mr. Roed- Larsen. His departure will also cause serious damage Mr. Jagland's masthead project, the House of Norway. Arbeiderbladet takes the view that it was painful, but necessary for Mr. Roed-Larsen to step down. Even if it turns out that he is innocent, which we find difficult to believe at this point, it is impossible for a minister to turn in a satisfactory performance with accusations of this gravity hanging over his head. Vaart Land also agrees that Mr. Roed- Larsen's departure had become an imperative, noting further that the man who was to be one of the pillars of Mr. Jagland's Government became his Achilles heel after only a month. Klassekampen says the Roed-Larsen affair ended in scandal. No surprise that the Prime Minister looked somewhat haggard yesterday as he accepted Mr. Roed-Larsen's resignation, for there was no doubt that the entire affair has been a disaster for Mr. Jagland. Dagens Naeringsliv voices the opinion that the case is shocking, and that it gives cause for concern for the unity of the House of Norway. Dagbladet proclaims that Mr. Roed-Larsen's resignation was unavoidable. It is obvious that a person who is under investigation for criminal offences and for tax irregularities cannot hold a ministerial post. He himself felt he could not defend himself against his accusers as long as he was in the Government, so there was nothing left to do but tender his resignation. Nationen declares that Mr. Roed-Larsen's departure is a serious blow to the prestige of the Prime Minister. The paper feels Mr. Jagland's handling of the situation has been unusually clumsy. Finansavisen's Trygve Hegnar writes that the PM's insistence that he still has full confidence in Terje Roed-Larsen is beyond belief. Faedrelandsvennen observes that Mr. Roed-Larsen's questionable working style and offhand professional ethics had finally caught up with him. The paper says he was felled by his own actions, and that his misfortune has dealt a serious blow to the Jagland Government and the Prime Minister himself.

Date: 29 November 1996

NRK Newsman in Double Role (Dagbladet)

NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) news editor Alf R. Jacobsen had arranged and was present at the confidential meeting between Terje Roed-Larsen and government tax auditor Roy Kristensen in 1987. Mr. Jacobsen, who is in charge of the NRK newswatch programme "Brennpunkt" (Focal Point), had produced the dramatic programme on the Roed-Larsen affair that was aired the day before Mr. Roed-Larsen tendered his resignation. NRK director Einar Foerde and Kent Nilsen, head of the television division, had been informed of Mr. Jacobsen's role before the programme went on the air. By his own account, Mr. Jacobsen had urged Mr. Roed-Larsen to describe the events in connection with the meeting with Roy Kristensen. "I contacted his lawyers with a very strong appeal for him to tell the truth. The burden of truth on persons in such prominent positions is much greater than it is for others.

Jagland Thought It Would Blow Over (Dagens Naeringsliv)

Prime Minister Thorbjoern Jagland was convinced right up until the end that the Roed-Larsen affair would blow over. Even as late as Labour's central executive committee meeting on Monday evening, he did not view the affair as a major problem. According to persons who were present at the meeting, Mr. Jagland provided a five-minute account of the Roed-Larsen affair in which he gave the impression that the Government could live with it, and that it could be properly managed.

FAFO Cover-up by Hernes (Klassekampen)

The first application for government funding filed by the Institute of Applied Social Sciences (FAFO) contained information that was directly misleading. On the basis of this information, Terje Roed-Larsen received government grants for six years without ever filing audited accounts. The situation was called to the attention of the Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs in 1992 while Gudmund Hernes was head of that ministry. Mr. Hernes, however, had been Mr. Roed- Larsen's immediate superior in FAFO until leaving to commence his term of service as Minister. Mr. Hernes never made any attempt to rectify the situation, and he never gave a thought to avoiding a conflict of interests. His response to criticism consisted of ridicule and cover-ups.

Today's Comment

Yngve Haagensen, president of the Norwegian Federation of Trade Unions (LO), has discovered why the news media have taken such a close interest in Terje Roed-Larsen's financial affairs. Apparently, there was some feeling that Prime Minister Thorbjoern Jagland's succession to the Prime Ministry went too smoothly, so as Mr. Haagensen would have it, something had to be found to take him down a notch or two. Mr. Haagensen has also stated that being guilty of an illegal act does not disqualify one from a ministerial post. He has further added that the media have conducted an all-out witch- hunt against Mr. Roed-Larsen. Finding ourselves in the line of Mr. Haagensen's fire, so to speak, we would be interested in knowing more about what Mr. Haagensen has in mind. Are his statements no more than a defence of a close friend in the heat of the moment, or are the upper echelons of the Labour Party really fretting about the possibility of a conspiracy? It would also be worth knowing whether the standards Mr. Haagensen expects of government ministers apply only to his own friends and political colleagues. We are quite certain that many members of the Norwegian Federation of Trade Unions would also like answers to these questions. Not all of them are as close to the Labour Party and the Government as is Mr. Haagensen, member of the national executive committee and the elections committee. (Dagbladet)

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Rød-Larsen Prize Shocks Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Halvor Tjønn, Ole Nygaard, Mariann Nordstrøm and Klaus Børringbo
Correspondents, Aftenposten

Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (UD) promises to investigate the USD $100,000 prize awarded to Terje Rød-Larsen and his diplomat wife Mona Juul as quickly and thoroughly as possible.

United Nations envoy Terje Rød-Larsen insists that that there is no secrecy around the awards he and his wife received and that the funds were reported to the tax authorities. Norway's Foreign Ministry seemed less convinced and vowed to dig up and present all the facts.

Norwegian Foreign Ministry press spokesman Karsten Klepsvik told Aftenposten Wednesday that there could be a mixing of private and public roles which could brand the cash prize as a professional 'irregularity'.

"They have received a substantial sum of money in a sphere where they work for the state. In principle the money should be delivered to UD when it is a question of a sum of this size," Klepsvik said.

Klepsvik rejected Rød-Larsen's argument that the Ministry knew about the money since it had been declared to tax authorities.

"That is something between the individual and the tax authorities, about which UD receives no information. We can't expect the tax authorities to tell us every time someone receives a prize," Klepsvik said.

The Ministry was more than a bit surprised when Terje Rød-Larsen told state broadcaster NRK that the department had been fully informed of the award.

"No one in UD has known about these sums of money. When he publicly claims the opposite it begins to resemble the previous scandal he was involved in . . . When he says that the Norwegian dipolmats present at the awards ceremony in 1999 were informed about the money, that is completely incorrect," a ministry source told Aftenposten.

Rød-Larsen resigned from a specially formed position as Minister of Planning for the Labor government in late 1996 after a series of revelations involving irregularities with stock options and tax declarations.

The Ministry now intends to concentrate its investigation on how closely Mona Juul was involved in the decision-making process which led to Norway contributing over NOK 10 (USD 1.17) million to the Peres Peace Center which awarded the prize.

Another potential danger for the couple is the question of whether they may be guilty of breaking the civil service law by accepting gifts that could, or were meant, to influence how they carry out their jobs.

Labor-law professor Henning Jakhelln considers an award given in recognition of past service is innocent enough and should not count as a potential influence on official duty. "Another question is whether it was wise in this case to accept such a gift," Jakhelln said.

Rød-Larsen has been unavailable for the Norwegian media, with the exception of state broadcaster NRK. Mona Juul has only uttered "No comment" to recent media enquiries. Officials at the Peres center have also put journalists on a waiting list, but all spokesmen have been unavailable.

Besides insisting that UD were fully informed and brushing aside implications of irregularities, Rød-Larsen told NRK about what he has done with the prize money.

Rød-Larsen said that much of the money remains in a private account that he uses to fund peace work in the region. Rød-Larsen said that he has used it to continue working in the region during times when he was not employed to do so.

This article ran on April 30 in "Aftenposten"

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Juul Can Expect Punishment
Gunnar Johnsen and Hilde Harbo

Foreign Minister January Petersen dismissed an appeal from a Center Party politician to treat Mona Juul's case leniently because it could weaken the UN's role in the Middle East. Juul is Norway's ambassador to Israel and Terje Rød-Larsen's wife.

Petersen said that he felt it was convinced that there were only negative aspects to tempering a judgment about Juul's acceptance of a USD 50,000 peace prize without notifying the department.

The Ministry has ruled that both Juul and Rød-Larsen violated civil service regulations by accepting a large sum of money in the line of duty without informing their employer. Juul also later recommended that the Peres Peace center, which awarded the prize money, receive Norwegian funding.

Terje Rød-Larsen can not be sanctioned by the ministry as he now works for the United Nations.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Karsten Klepsvik sketched two possible punitive reactions to the Juul case. The first would be a reprimand, which would be the mild alternative and have no further consequences.

The second alternative is a disciplinary sanction, which is more serious and could hamper Juul's further career. If Juul is officially censured for her actions it would be considered a permanent blot on her record and could cost her job seniority.

Klepsvik confirmed that Juul's transgression was serious, and rare. "I do not know of a previous case where the Foreign Ministry has concluded an ambassador has violated the laws of civil service," Klepsvik said.

"It seems clear that Mona Juul was involved in handling applications from the Peres center for economic support. This application was recommended by the Norwegian embassy and it is clear that this can raise questions of her legal competency. The ministry is examining this aspect of the case closely," Klepsvik said.

Both Juul and Rød-Larsen have expressed their apologies and regrets, and both have said that they were not aware that they were obliged to report the financial award to their employer, the ministry.

Rod-Larsen stressed that the award ceremony was a public event with full media coverage and that he had never tried to keep the prize a secret.

This piece ran in the Aftenposten on April 30, 2002

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1999: A Lucrative Year For Mr. Larsen and his Wife
Ellis Shuman
Correspondent, "Israel Insider"

They were also among the winners of the $100,000 International Activist Award, presented biannually by the Gleitsman Foundation. They shared the award with at least two other senior members of the Peres Center, Yossi Beilin and the current President of the Center, Uri Savir, along with Israeli peace activists Yitzhak Frankenthal and Galia Golan, Palestinians Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), Bassem Eid, Ahmed Qurie (Abu Ala), and the late Faisal Husseini, as well as American citizen, Stanley K. Sheinbaum. Among the seven judges who selected the prize winners was Shimon Peres.

In 1994, Shimon Peres, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and philanthropist Dominique de Menil were among the presenters of a one-time special $100,000 peace award from The Carter-Menil Human Rights Foundation to FAFO, Norway's Institute of Applied Social Science, "for its work in brokering the September 1993 declaration of principles between the PLO and Israel." The Director-General of FAFO was Terje Roed-Larsen.

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