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New Israel policy! Now!

Socialist Youth visited occupied Palestine this summer. The US here demands a red-green government to repeal Norwegian Middle East policy and take an active support role for the Palestinians.


Six delegates from SU attended a seminar with a Palestinian youth organization. We visited several cities on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, where we gained an insight into the daily lives of Palestinians during occupation and their struggle for freedom. The circumstances testify to a failed peace process, an occupation force that is taking action without anyone intervening to prevent serious violations of international law and fundamental human rights.

If Norway wants a peaceful and viable solution to the Middle East conflict, the need for a change of strategy is urgent. Today, Israel is cementing an already existing apartheid system in the occupied territories. With American blessing, the establishment of a real Palestinian state, and in particular the refugees' right to return, is removed from the agenda.

For the past fifteen years, Norwegian Middle East policy has been based on the Oslo process. With the Labor Party at the helm, Norwegian diplomats took an active role in the process. Both research communities and the solidarity movement have subsequently criticized this role and claimed that Norway was an active mediator who contributed to weakening the Palestinians' already weak position. Since then, the occupier Israel has used every hour, under the guise of a "peace process", to exploit its position of power. The realities of the occupied territories have thus been changed in their favor.

Regardless of what one thinks of Norway's approach, it is clear that new instruments are needed that are based on an international law understanding of the conflict with Israel as both the strong and the oppressive party.

The Palestine conflict should continue to be a high priority in Norwegian politics. A first step to highlight this must be the reopening of the Gaza representative office. All parties in the red-green alternative have expressed a positive view on such a reopening. SU expects this to be done immediately after a possible takeover of the government offices.

SU calls for a red-green government to repeal Norwegian Middle East policy and to take an active support role for the Palestinians based on their rights enshrined in international law. Such a role involves:

1. Defense for a solution based on international law

On July 9 last year, at the request of the UN General Assembly, the International Court of Justice in The Hague adopted a statement on the apartheid wall in the West Bank. The Court held that both the wall and the settler colonies are listed in violation of the Geneva Convention and thus illegal. Furthermore, it was stated that no argument could defend the construction of the wall on occupied land. The statement was a victory for Palestinians and international law, and the General Assembly decided by overwhelming majority to demand that Israel adhere to the court.

Norway voted in the UN abstaining on the question of letting the court hear the case. This, among other things, on the grounds that a legal ruling could damage the "peace process". This is perhaps the grossest example of how Norway has contributed to undermining international law in favor of a "peace process" that should disregard international legal principles and be left to the law of the strongest.

2. Sanctions against Israel

Despite the court's ruling, Israel is still building the apartheid wall. Probably, international sanctions are the only thing that could force Israel to change its policy. A clear support role for the Palestinians, and respect for international law, should result in meeting Israeli international law violations with economic and political sanctions. SU requires a waterproof boycott and embargo of Israel. It's a shame that Norwegian weapons kill civilians in Palestinian refugee camps and that Norwegian state capital sponsors Israel's military industry!

This demand is of enormous principled importance and is at the same time a concrete measure that will affect Israel directly as a violent occupying power. Furthermore, we demand that a halt in Norwegian arms trade with Israel should not only be a consequence of "we do not trade arms with countries in war". The arms boycott of Israel must be a pronounced political tool as a result of Israel's violation of international law. Norway should also submit a proposal for an arms boycott and embargo through the UN.

SU supports the consumer boycott of all Israeli goods. It should also be possible from a government team to ban the import of goods from the illegal settler colonies. Several such goods are sold in Norway today. They help to legitimize Israel's colonization of the West Bank and Gaza.

3. Support for the rights of refugees

Palestinian refugees are still denied their right to return and compensation. Due to the Palestinians' weak negotiating position, and Israel's total denial of any responsibility for the expulsion of the refugees, their rights have been neglected in the negotiations. More than half of the Palestinian people are now sidelined in the political game over their homeland and rights. There has been a tacit recognition from the international community that a solution to the refugee issue does not need to be based on international law, and that the so-called "final negotiations" will put an end to the rights of refugees. Such a solution has no legitimacy as the rights of refugees are individual and cannot be negotiated away by anyone.

A new government must insist that the rights of Palestinian refugees are inviolable and a new Norwegian foreign minister should make an official trip to a Palestinian refugee camp outside Palestine to establish Norway's support for the rights of refugees.

4. Relief assistance

Since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, Norway has contributed large sums of money in aid to the occupied territories. Continued humanitarian efforts are important. The first two years of the intifada resulted in a 40 percent decline in GDP in the West Bank and Gaza, which is equivalent to the decline during the US economic crisis after the 1929 crash.

However, there are large parts of foreign aid that should be questioned, and parts that obviously work directly against their purpose. Funding for infrastructure in the occupied territories – including through the World Bank, which aims to make the Palestinians' everyday lives more "livable" within the framework of the occupation – contributes to the normalization of Israel's apartheid structures in the territories. In some cases, this makes the occupation economically sustainable for Israel.

Norwegian assistance to the occupied territories should help enable the Palestinians to free themselves from the occupation, rather than getting used to it. A new red-green government should to a much greater extent actively support rights-based measures and local forces that build on peaceful, popular opposition to violations of their rights. Norwegian organizations contributing to this type of work should also be given priority.

5. Measures against illegal settler financing

Several Norwegian organizations finance illegal settler activity in the occupied territories in violation of international law. Among these are Shuva Israel Norway and the Carmel Institute. Money donations to these organizations' activities can today be deducted from the tax. In this way, the Norwegian state contributes to supporting the occupation of the Palestinian territories, and Norway thus breaks its obligations as a party to the Geneva Conventions.

SU requires that these organizations be removed from the list of approved tax exempt organizations. Furthermore, we require that funding for unlawful occupation is prohibited by law, and that such activity is actively prosecuted.

With these requirements, SU sends a challenge to our parent party and SV's possible government partners. How hard will the SV stand on its demands for the liberation of Palestine also in a government situation? Will the Labor Party and the Center Party also take an active and outspoken support role for the Palestinians, who defend their rights, with sanctions as one of the means? The AUF and the Center Youth want such a progressive role. So do growing parts of Ap. and Sp.s grass root. Which considerations will weigh the most? The Palestinian people deserve our support, not only in resolutions and resolutions, but through active action.

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