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NPA supports Palestinians' right to peace and freedom

Photo: Mohammed Omer Moghayer

The following statement was approved on the 1st of June 2018 by the board of Norwegian People’s Aid in support of the Palestinian people. 

70 years after the establishment of the state of Israel, it is time for the fulfilment of Palestinian rights. Israelis and Palestinians both have the right to live in peace, with freedom of movement and control over their own resources. Since the 1980s, Norwegian People’s Aid has worked in Palestine with democratisation, defence of land rights, as well as conflict preparedness and protection.   

Recently we have borne witness again to disproportionate use of force against Palestinian demonstrators, with health workers and civilian protestors hit by live fire. By the end of May, 128 Palestinians had been killed and more than 13,000 injured in demonstrations along the sealed-off border between Israel and Gaza. Those demonstrating were protesting decades of occupation and the blockade of Gaza, now in its eleventh year.

Norwegian People’s Aid believes that Norwegian and international actors must put pressure on Israel to ensure that it respects international law.

The Norwegian government must draw a clear line in its cooperation with Israel to ensure that it does not recognize Israel’s control over the occupied Palestinian territories. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs must publish guidelines that ensure that trade with Israel does not benefit the settlement enterprise.

Norwegian municipalities can contribute by passing their own resolutions not to trade in goods or services from the occupied territories. Although settlements are illegal under international law, Israel has settled 700,000 of its citizens on Palestinian land and, as recently as May, the Israeli government approved 3,200 new housing units on Palestinian territory. The board of Norwegian People’s Aid encourages its branches to follow up in their local communities, so that as many municipalities as possible pass resolutions to this effect, following the example set by the city councils of Trondheim and Tromsø.

Norwegian People’s Aid and other organisations that criticise violations of international law are subject to false accusations by the Israeli government that has made it clear that they are engaged in an aggressive and coordinated campaign against organisations that are critical to the occupation. The attempt to undermine the work of Norwegian People’s Aid demonstrates the increasingly challenging environment for those working for fundamental human rights and international law. We will stand up for the right to association, the right to freedom of expression and the right to non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation. Norwegian People’s Aid works to ensure respect for international law and human rights. The Norwegian government, in its bilateral discussions with Israel, must underline the fact that the rights to freedom of expression and association are fundamental values in any democracy.