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Norwegian lawmaker nominates Israel boycott campaign for Nobel Peace Prize

Moxnes calls for all partners to join ranks in support campaign

By Jassar Al Tahat - Feb 15,2018 - Last updated at Feb 15,2018

In this file photo, activists march in Montreal, Canada, in 2016 to support an international campaign to boycott Israeli products (File photo)

BEIRUT — Norwegian MP Bjornar Moxnes succeeded to nominate Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for a Nobel Peace Prize, as the movement according to Moxnes is “seeking to end Israel’s half-century of military rule over 4.5 million Palestinians”.

“Our hope is that this nomination can help ignite an international campaign in favour of awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the BDS movement,” he told The Jordan Times, noting that BDS has achieved “some impressive results in terms of putting the Palestinian people and their rights back on the international agenda”.

He described the movement as a positive force, “using strictly legal and non-violent means to advance a legitimate agenda that is perfectly in line with international law and universal human rights”.

 

“We believe the BDS movement deserves all the international support it can get. The Palestinian cause enjoys massive support in the Norwegian civil society as in many other countries, but given the military superiority of Israel and its disregard for international law and United Nations’ decisions, it is necessary that governments join in and show that allies of the West, Israel in this case, have to abide by international law”. However, there are positive examples on the governmental level in place already, he said, citing the move by the Danish parliament to exclude illegal settlements from trade agreements with Israel. 

Denmark is now the first European state to publicly support sanctions against the companies on the UN list that do business with or in Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise. “We hope that more countries will follow this example,” Moxnes commented.

From Inside Palestine, Gaza Coordinator for the Palestinian BDS National Committee Abdulrahman Abunahel underlined the importance of the Nobel Prize motion.

“I think being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize can bring very important, timely attention to the BDS movement and help expand its outreach, as it strives to end egregious Israeli violations of Palestinian rights,” Abunahel said.

He described the nomination as timely. 

“As the Trump administration gives Israel the green light to escalate its attacks on Palestinian life, in Jerusalem and beyond, and as Israel escalates its repression of BDS activists and other non-violent defenders of Palestinian human rights through unjust imprisonments, smear campaigns and repressive legislation, this nomination highlights the importance of applying concrete pressure on Israel,” the activist said. 

In this context, adopting sanctions and other BDS measures that are consistent with international law becomes an urgent moral imperative for the international community and anyone who cares about a just peace in the region, Abunahel added. 

Responding to a question on how the BDS can build momentum in Arab countries, the coordinator said: “Over the past few years, BDS campaigns have intensified in the Arab world, especially in Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Kuwait, Egypt and Tunisia. To further build BDS campaigns at this critical time, we at the Palestinian BDS National Committee — the largest Palestinian coalition that leads the global BDS movement — join BDS organisers and coalitions across the Arab world concerned with Palestinian rights to redouble our demands. Beyond calling on Arab governments to end any official normalisation with Israel, we call on them to impose sanctions and refuse to contract with any corporations that are complicit in Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.” 

From his part, deputy leader of Jordan-based Islamic Action Front Zaki Bani Irsheid backed the efforts made by the Norwegian deputy underlining “indications of growing support of the Palestinian cause in western communities”.

“This also means that the Zionist lobby’s influence is breaking down, especially as Israel maintains the arrogant attitude towards UN and Security Council resolutions,” Bani Irsheid noted in remarks to The Jordan Times.

According to Moxnes, the next step comes from the Nobel Prize Committee, when the nominations are shortlisted. By the beginning of October, the winner or winners will be announced.   

 

“It is by no means guaranteed that the BDS movement will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, although we believe it will be difficult for the Nobel Committee to ignore a candidate that not only satisfies the criteria, but also fits the original intentions of Alfred Nobel perfectly. We believe that if friends of the Palestinians and supporters of international law and human rights, come together in a positive campaign in favour of awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the BDS campaign, we can change the way the international community thinks and acts regarding the Palestinian people’s just claim for freedom and justice. So when the day of the official announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize award comes, we will already have made significant progress, no matter if the BDS is awarded the peace prize or not,” said Moxnes.

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