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December 29, 2005


Ibn ad Dunya

People closely tied to FAFO played an instrumental part in the Oslo-backchannel, that later gave us the famous handshake on the white house lawn in Sep 1993. FAFO was founded in Oslo 1982 by amongst others Terje Röed Larsen, it is linked to the Norwegian trade union. in 1988 FAFO commisioned a pilot study on living conditions in the west bank and on the Gaza strip. Marianne Heiberg was the researcher, heading the project. In 1990, Terje Roed Larsen was the head of FAFO and living in Cairo with his wife Mona Juul, a Norwegian diplomat. He took a personal interest in the study, and met with Fathi Arafat,head of the Palestinian Red Crescent in Cairo,and the brother of Yasser Arafat. he also met with Abu Aláa. The study proved to be a perfect smokescreen for the norwegian backchannel-talks, alltough not intended to in the first place. It provided the norwegian research team with invaluable contacts in Palestian and Israeli academia and political circles. Through flux of luck, political changes in Israel ,stalled Washington talks and a new social democratic government in Norway with extremly good ties to FAFO(Johan Jörgen Holst(Marianne Heiberg´s husband) was the new Minister of Foreign affairs. Also Terje Roed Larsen had direct access to the government. The Oslo channel started of as a academical exercise/political test baloon with Norwegian government backing. Present at the first rounds of talks was Yair Hirshfeld & Ron Pundak from Haifa University and Abu Aláa , Hassan Asfour and Maher al Kurd from the PLO. Hirshfeld and Pundak was close to Yossi Beilin. The rest is history...

So AA go out and change the world, i´d rather see you doing it than the American Enterprise Institute...

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