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International movement for boycotts against Israel discussed in the four-day Norwegian Social Forum

Date: 31 / 10 / 2006 Time: 18:32

X http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=16631 (external link)

{{Image] Pro-boycott demo in Ramallah (MaanImages)

Ma'an - The Norwegian Social Forum, held in Oslo from 19-22 October 2006, highlighted the growing movement for boycott, sanctions and divestment (BDS) against the Israeli occupation, the Norwegian Association of NGO's for Palestine told Ma'an.

Around 1,750 people attended the forum, titled 'The Globalisation Conference', including the Norwegian Association of NGO's for Palestine, members from the 'Tear down the Wall' campaign, and members from the Palestinian community in Scandinavia. Two prominent Palestinian politicians – Khalida Jarrar from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Husam Ahmed, advisor to the Palestinian minister of refugee affairs, Atef Adwan – were unable to attend as planned due to restrictions imposed by the Israeli occupation.

A highlight of the forum was a meeting entitled 'The Middle East is burning – roads to justice and peace?' The meeting, which was attended by some 400 people, focused on the occupied Palestinian territories, Iraq and Lebanon. The Gaza-based Palestinian journalist Leila Al-Haddad? and Dr. Daoud Abdallah from 'Al-Awda UK' gave speeches, amongst others.

Khalida Jarrar from the PFLP was unable to attend the forum as she was prevented from leaving the occupied West Bank. However, she spoke via telephone at the opening of the forum to over 800 people. The forum said it will send an official protest letter to Israel regarding this issue.

Husam Ahmed was also prevented from attending the forum due to the closure of the Rafah crossing, thereby preventing him from leaving the Gaza Strip.

The movement for boycott, sanctions and divestment against the Israeli occupation was discussed at great length during the forum. The newly-elected leader of the Norwegian Labour Youth raised the issue and called for his own Labour-dominated government to ban imports of all products that come from the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Members of the Norwegian government, most notably the Norwegian minister of finance and the leader of the socialist left party, Kristin Halvorsen, have previously raised the issue of a popular boycott of Israeli products in Norway. Discussions on popular boycott have taken place in a number of Norwegian councils and universities.

Other issues addressed during the conference were the issue of the thousands of Palestinian detainees being held in Israeli prisons, the separation wall and new ways to resist the occupation, including boycott of Israel.



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