Isabelle Ringnes and Kristina Bolstad Picard want a temporary halt in trade with Israel – NRK Buskerud – Local news, TV and radio

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The situation is getting worse and worse every single day. It’s heartbreaking. And we have a responsibility, all of us, to do more, to put an end to it, says Isabelle Ringnes about the situation in Gaza.

NRK meets her, Kristina Bolstad Picard and Hege Janson Skogen at The Palestine tent outside the Storting.

Isabelle Ringnes, Kristina Bolstad Picard and Hege Janson Skogen are also behind the Leaders’ Call for Human Rights, which more than 1,000 business leaders are said to have signed.

Photo: Laik Hanbaly / NRK

The three representatives from the business world have stood in the breach for managers in Norwegian companies to take a clear stand against what they believe to be Israeli violations of international law.

Demands a response from the Minister for Foreign Affairs

In January, the UN Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Israel to introduce emergency measures in the Gaza Strip, where the Israeli authorities were asked to ensure that the country’s soldiers do not commit genocide.

– The Court says that there is a risk of infringement of the rights following Genocide Conventionsaid Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide when the ruling was presented.

Since January, the government has reviewed Norway’s interaction with Israel. – We need answers now, say business activists.

Photo: Amanda Iversen Orlich / NRK

Eide emphasized that Norway would “go through its interaction with Israel”, and thus ensure that there were no Norwegian actions that could be in conflict with the ruling from the UN court.

The foreign minister has previously said that he fears that an Israeli offensive in the border town of Rafah could lead to a bloodbath.

On Tuesday night, Israel took control of parts of Rafah.

Now the representatives from business are demanding answers from the government and have sent letters to several members of the government.

– This is urgent, says Hege Janson Skogen.

They have therefore now sent letters to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Business and the Ministry of Finance in which they are calling for insight into the review.

NRK meets Isabelle Ringnes, Kristina Bolstad Picard and Hege Janson Skogen at the Palestine tent outside the Storting. They say that it is urgent to gain insight into the government’s review of Israeli companies.

Photo: Laik Hanbaly / NRK

Want the Oil Fund out of Israel

In the letter they have sent where they demand access to the review, they also include it four concrete recommendations to the government:

  • To immediately freeze the Oil Fund’s investments in Israel and in companies that have business connections to illegal Israeli settlements.
  • To ensure that Norwegian weapons or weapon parts do not end up in Israel and potentially be used for violations of international law and war crimes. In several cases, NRK has shed light on the fact that Norwegian weapons and weapon parts have ended up in Israel.
  • To freeze the free trade agreement with Israel until the war on Gaza ends. The agreement includes, among other things, zero tariffs for all industrial goods from Israel.
  • To cooperate with other countries in taking the initiative for an international sanctions regime against Israel in the EU and the UN.

Record trade with Israel

According to figures from Statistics Norway, Norway imported goods worth NOK 1.8 billion from Israel in 2023.

This is the highest sum ever.

In the same year, the Oil Fund is said to have also invested more than NOK 140 billion in companies linked to illegal Israeli settlements, according to a report from Don’t buy into occupation.

Among others, LO, the Trade Union Confederation and Norwegian People’s Aid are behind the report.

Now representatives from the business community want to freeze the free trade agreement with Israel as long as the war in Gaza continues.

– This will affect ordinary Israelis who have nothing to do with the war, isn’t that wrong?

Yes, but it will create pressure against the Israeli government, which is now committing war crimes. We ask whether it is right that a state which is accused of genocide and which commits some of the worst war crimes the world has seen in recent times should be an important trading partner for Norway, says Picard.

The trio wants answers from the government about Norway’s interaction with Israel. – Do Norwegian companies contribute to violations of international law, ask business activists.

Photo: Laik Hanbaly / NRK

State Secretary in the Ministry of Business, Tore Onshuus Sandvik, tells NRK that, as of today, no international measures have been introduced against Israel.

No UN or EU sanctions have been adopted as a result of the war between Israel and Hamas. Norway has been clear that we advise against trade and business activities with Israeli settlements in occupied territories, says Sandvik.

NRK has contacted the Israeli Embassy in Norway and has conveyed the criticism directed at Israel in this article.

They have not answered NRK’s ​​questions.

The article is in Norwegian

Tags: Isabelle Ringnes Kristina Bolstad Picard temporary halt trade Israel NRK Buskerud Local news radio

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