“The Palestinian people, who have to deal with the illegal occupation of their territory every single day, deserve international attention and support. It is a shared global responsibility to help ensure that human rights and international law are not violated.”
The City Council of Oslo, Norway’s capital, has passed an order that bans all Israeli settlement goods, products, and services in a groundbreaking move. Oslo’s recently elected City Council, led by the Socialist Left (SV), Labour, and Green parties, is part of a wider movement of Nordic municipalities that are banning Israeli goods in support of the BDS movement.
BDS, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, was established as part of a wider commitment to support and protect Palestinian rights, heritage, and livelihoods under siege by the Israeli occupation. The peaceful BDS movement aims to pressure Israel to comply with international law in regards to its illegal occupation of Palestine, and to restore rights to the Palestinian people.
In support of this, Oslo’s City Council hopes that this historic move will help shed light on one of the most important and historic cases of human rights violations. Sunniva Eidsvoll, the leader of the Oslo Socialist Left Party (SV) that now leads the City Council, stated:
The Palestinian people, who have to deal with the illegal occupation of their territory every single day, deserve international attention and support. It is a shared global responsibility to help ensure that human rights and international law are not violated. 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.”
Despite opposition from right-wing parties, Oslo has managed to ensure this historic move, with much support from the rest of the country. Audun Halvorsen, Norway’s state secretary at the foreign ministry, stated in response to right-wing critics: “[This boycott] of goods and services produced in settlements does not contradict Norway’s international commitments”.
The official BDS movement has also commended this move on Oslo’s part, encouraging other cities and countries to seriously consider being a part of a peaceful movement that helps pressure Israel into complying with international human rights law. The BDS Europe campaigns coordinator Alys Samson stated:
“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. 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.”
As Oslo’s City Council continues to pave the way, the Irish government is currently reviewing its Occupied Territories Bill, which could potentially see the entire nation of Ireland banning imported goods and products from Israel’s illegal settlements in occupied Palestine. It remains to be seen how the wider international community will react and take action in regards to supporting or acknowledging the BDS movement, however for now, Oslo’s historic move is certainty applaudable.