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Palestinian civil society expresses solidarity with people of Norway


Arbeidernes Ungdomsfylking (AUF), the Norwegian labour youth party, declared their support for the boycott of Israel during a visit by Norwegian foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre  in the days before the massacre at their summer camp[1]

Occupied Palestine-Palestinian civil society, as broadly represented within the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), wishes to express its sincere condolences to and deep solidarity with the people of Norway and to Arbeidernes Ungdomsfylking (AUF), the Norwegian labour youth party, in particular after the massacre of last Friday committed by a far right fanatic.

Palestinians stand with the people of Norway as they mourn the victims, and our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who have died.

This horrendous massacre serves as a grave reminder of the dangers posed by racism, hatred and intolerance. We are confident that Norway’s long tradition of peace loving, respecting diversity and upholding human rights anywhere in the world will stand up to this ugly test of fundamentalism and hate; we trust that the Norwegian people’s determination to fight xenophobia and its resultant disregard for equal human rights will be further strengthened.

These violent and horrific attacks cannot be viewed in isolation. There is a growing wave of officially sanctioned Islamophobia in several western countries, driven by misinformation, intolerance and right-wing Zionism, with strong links to Israel. Tragically, this racist and extreme rhetoric has been put into action with many Norwegians paying the price with their lives. The murderer, by his own admission, drew his motivation for this heinous crime from the by now widespread anti-Arab/Muslim discourse that dwells on a perceived “clash of civilizations” and a blind support for Israel and its crimes against the Palestinian people.

Palestinians deeply empathize and stand with Norwegians as fellow humans and as a people that has its own long experience of pain and grief. In Israel’s Gaza massacre alone, more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, lost their lives.[2] Homes, schools, UN shelters, university buildings, civilian infrastructure, hospitals, ambulances, sewage systems, power stations and more were ruthlessly decimated by Israel’s state terrorism in its assault on Gaza 2008-09. The noble humanitarian work and moving testimonies of the prominent Norwegian physician, Dr. Mads Gilbert, attest to the scale of the crime Israel has committed in Gaza and continues to commit on a daily basis with its illegal and immoral siege of 1.5 million Palestinians. It is often in times of great suffering, however, that human compassion and solidarity shine brightest.

We believe that these despicable crimes in Norway will only strengthen the resolve of all people of conscience around the world to pursue freedom, justice and equality and to join hands in combating racism in all forms.

We appreciate greatly the support for Palestinian rights and, specifically, for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, as shown by members of the AUF summer camp. We deeply appreciate the support for a boycott of Israel from LO,[3] the Norwegian labor federation, and from close to half the people of Norway, as shown in polls following Israel’s bloody flotilla attack last summer.[4] We salute the Norwegian pension fund for divesting from three Israeli companies implicated in Israel’s occupation and colonization.[5] We are proud of the brave decision taken by Norway to ban testing submarines destined to Israel and to support a military embargo on Israel.[6] We stand by the friends and families of all victims at this difficult time.

We hope to honour their memory by working more closely together with the AUF and other partners in Norwegian civil society towards a more just world where there is no place for racism and hatred.

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