The Palestinian people, who have to deal with the illegal occupation of their territory every single day, deserve international attention and support.”
By Mariam Nabbout
In yet another win for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, officials in Norway’s capital Oslo recently passed an order banning Israeli settlement goods and services.
The ban comes as part of the newly adopted 2019 scheme which was approved by Oslo’s recently-elected City Council. The institution is currently led by the Socialist Left (SV), Labour and Green parties.
The recent ruling in the country happened despite huge efforts made on part of Israel and its right-wing allies in Norway “to repress accountability measures in support of Palestinian rights.”
Five other local municipalities have already banned Israeli products in Norway, in addition to one county.
By passing the new ruling, Oslo’s City Council has committed to not include “goods and services produced on territory occupied in violation of international law by companies operating under the permission of the occupying power.”
According to the BDS movement, this is because such bans do not differentiate between “Israeli and international corporations that operate in Israel’s illegal settlements.” In an official statement on the matter, Sunniva Eidsvoll, leader of the Oslo chapter of the SV and of SV’s Oslo City Council group, said:
“The Palestinian people, who have to deal with the illegal occupation of their territory every single day, deserve international attention and support.”
She also stressed that it’s a global responsibility to ensure that human rights and international laws are adhered to.
“I am proud that the Oslo City Council is now taking steps to prevent goods and services purchased by the city from supporting an illegal occupation of Palestine or other territories,” she added.
BDS officials welcomed the latest move in a statement issued by their Europe campaigns coordinator Alys Samson.
“We welcome this legally and morally responsible step taken by the Oslo City Council. Local councils are showing they are undeterred by repression, and continue to pave the way, despite inaction by national governments,” she explained.
“A ban on goods and services from Israel’s illegal settlements is the very least that government institutions should enact to cut their complicity with Israel’s regime of apartheid, settler-colonialism and occupation,” Samson added.
The city council’s move comes just over a week after Michael Lynk, the U.N. independent expert on human rights in the Palestinian territories, called for an international ban on all Israeli settlements products as a step towards ending Israel’s 52-year-old illegal occupation.
The BDS movement has been in action since 2005
The global movement against the Israeli occupation was established by over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations, unions, and cultural and rights groups. The campaign aims to pressure Israel into complying with international law and grant Palestinian citizens their most basic of rights. It allows people from all over the world to take part in the fight against Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.
Supporters of the movement include academics, politicians, artists, and organizations as well as some Israeli citizens. In the past decade, BDS campaigns have scored significant successes including influencing several countries to suspend free trade with Israel.
However, there have also been some setbacks, particularly because the movement is often attacked by the U.S., Canada, and several European countries.
Nevertheless, the BDS’ impact is evident and this explains why Israel sees the movement as a strategic threat and accuses it of anti-semitism — a claim activists firmly deny, calling it an attempt to discredit them.
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