Monday, February 05, 2007

Norway workers' union votes for sanctions against Israel

My friend Olaf Berglihn in the Norwegian city of Trondheim, Norway's third largest city (which I visited and spoke at this past fall) tells me that the annual workers union conference on Sunday January 28th unanimously voted to support a pledge to the government which calls for changes in policy towards the PA and Hamas and sanctions against Israel, among other things. The Union has 83, 000 members.

A number of prominent politicians and other organizations have also signed, according to Olaf. The pledge will go public in coming days.

The main points, translated by Olaf from Norwegian, are as follows:

1) Stop the boycot of Hamas and channel eccononic support through the PA,
and ask other govenments to do the same.

2) Put pressure on Israel to stop military actions against in the
Palestinian teritories, dismantle the wall and settlements and release
detained PA members.

3) Establish a weapons embargo of Israel

4) Pull out investments in Israel from the Norwegian Pensions Fund
(former Norwegian Oil Fund).

5) Require Israel to disengage from occupied territories (this the translation I was given-I'm not sure if the text literally said disengage-which carries for me negative political associations, or "withdraw/end occupation").

The conference also decided (separately) to call for a 2% "war tax" on
all Israeli produce - funds that should be used to rebuild Palestinian

I asked Olaf what kind of impact he things this will have, if any. He says that while he doesn't know for sure, he is certain the government must provide some kind of answer and that district and muncipality governments are up for election this fall. Olaf says they are keeping the pressure on them and that this will set a good precedent, and keep the ball rolling so to speak. "There are already more and more people in unions and politics writing in the press about their concern regarding Norway financing a coup in Palestine by supporting Abbas and all the weapons now given to Fatah and Dahlan."

A stunning view of Trondheim from across the river, taken this fall during my visit.


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