The Norwegian Social Forum was held between the 19th to the 22nd of October in Oslo under the title of âThe Globalization Conferenceâ. Around 1750 people attended over 60 meetings and seminars. The Norwegian Association of NGO’s for Palestine, along with members of the Palestine Community and the Tear Down the Wall campaign arranged several meetings on Palestine, taking in the issues of prisoners, the Apartheid Wall, creative forms of resistance and the boycott of Israel.
One of the biggest successes was a meeting called âThe Middle East is burning – roads to justice and peaceâ focusing on Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon. Around 400 people attended to hear speeches by Gaza-journalist Leila al Haddad, Dr. Daoud Abdallah from Al-Awda UK and other speakers.
The need for boycott, sanctions and divestment against the Occupation was highlighted by several speakers and in contributions from the audience. The BDS movement is strengthening and has now become a core issue on all Palestine meetings. The newly elected leader of Labour Youth has raised the issue again calling for his own Labour-dominated government to ban import of all products from colonies in the West Bank. Members of the Norwegian government – most notably by Minister of Finance and leader of Socialist Left party Kristin Halvorsen – have previously raised the issue of popular boycott.
Attempts to raise the boycott issue have resulted in strong reactions from the Foreign Minister and other high level officials averse to the action. However, boycott discussions have again emerged in Norwegian city councils and at Universities.
The Palestine meeting at the Forum suffered from restrictions imposed by the Occupation as two key speakers were prevented from attending. Khalida Jarrar from the PFLP was invited to the Forum but was not allowed to travel out of the West Bank. Jarrar spoke by phone at the opening meeting attended by over 800 people. The Forum will send an official protest letter to Apartheid Israel on this matter.
Husam Ahmed, advisor of Atef Adwan, minister of refugee affairs in the PNA, was also prevented from attending after Occupation Forces closed the Rafah opening, preventing him from leaving the Gaza Strip.