Oslo 13. June 2001

Foreign Minister Thorbjørn Jagland
PB 8114 Dep, 0032 Oslo (Translated from Norwegian - FSH)

Norway should support Israeli peace organizations


The Norwegian Peace Alliance and the Norwegian People´s Aid demand increased support for organizations in Israel that promote changes in attitude and seek an end to the Israeli policy of occupation.

The role played by the Norwegian government as facilitator in the Mid-East peace process today has become an obstacle to a necessary change of policy. As a result Norway has felt barred from critizising blatant violations of international law and from
promoting the principles and attitudes Norway normally promotes regarding human rights. The line that emphasized Norway´s role as a facilitator was productive as long as it could serve to build trust in the early phases of the process. However, when Israel
continued its policy of occupation and expansion, the role of facilitator has kept Norway from putting the kind of pressure on Israeli authorities that has been needed to advance the peace process.

We have noted that in later months spokespersons for different Israeli organizations have demanded respect for international treaties and an end to the occupation. They have also pointed to the necessity of a broad and profound change of attitudes
among the Israeli citizens in their way of viewing Palestinians and Israel´s own role as occupant.

The Norwegian Peace Alliance and the Norwegian People´s Aid think that the Norwegian involvement must seek to support the forces that endeavour to change Israel - not through pressure from the outside, but through political and cultural efforts inside Israel aiming at a change of the regime. These forces, representing an "other Israel", must receive longterm economic and political support from Norway to further the growth of a healthy opposition to the Israeli establishment that Norway is presently keeping close relations with. In our view this will be an important supplement to the efforts of Norwegian authorities and international organizations for peace negotiations between the parties.

We would therefore urge the Norwegian government to

- provide longterm political and economic support to organizations that pursue a change of attitude and oppose occupation and oppression

- develop closer cultural, politic, academic co-operation with the forces in Israel that are active in pursuing such changes

- make the work of these organisations more visible

- exercise more political pressure in support of Israeli prisoners of conscience and citizens who refuse to serve in the occupied territories

- end Norway´s "neutral position" and take a clear stand against the violation of fundamental human rights

Sincerely yours,

Reiulf Steen

Styreleder, Norsk Folkehjelp, Storg. 33, 0184 Oslo

Tlf. 2203 7700 (fax: 2220 0870)

Fredrik S. Heffermehl

Styreleder, Norges Fredsråd, Storg. 11, 0155 Oslo

Tlf. 2301 0300 (fax: 2301 0303)



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