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Norway: full week of action on Iraq and Palestine

29. September 2004

Free Iraq Committee on the eve of founding

25th of September our guest to the Palestine committee this week Ali Abunimeh spoke in our conference on the one-state solution as the only realistic, democratic and progressive solution. The speech was followed by debate, with book publisher on the Oslo Agreement Arne à˜rum, à˜yvind Sagedal (Chair of the Palestine Committee and priest in the Lutheran church) and several others attending. The debate circled around the future of the PLO, a representative from the Palestinian delegation also attending, making a strong supportive statement of the PLO. Abumineh focused on the problem that the PLO is not any longer making itself relevant to the Palestinian people, and that he, as a 32-years old was never able to contribute to the future of the PLO. Also, this was discussed in relation to the next seminar on the question of the refugees.

28th of September: We held a rally against the occupation of Iraq and Palestine, 400 people attending, both Arabs and Norwegians, and representatives from all the progressive left in Norway. Speakers were Ali Abumineh from, who focused in his speech on the need for Europeans and westerners to realize who is to blame for the continuation of the atrocities in Palestine. He made a strong call for ourselves to realize our responsibilities to speak out against Israel.

The rally was chaired by Ingrid Baltzersen, head of the Palestine committee in Oslo and vice leader of the Workers Communist Party. As an introduction to the rally, we held one minute of silence for the Palestinian martyrs after four years of the Intifada. Abla Eid from “Stop the Wall campaign” in Palestine focused on the devastating effects of the wall, and the absolute need to confront the wall being built into the soil of the west bank. Nils Røhne from Norwegian People`s Aid (progressive Norwegian NGO) called for a stronger focus on Palestine in the international solidarity movement, and repeated urgent calls for politicians to react toward the crisis. Liv Gulbrandsen, member of the City Parliament for the Red Electoral Alliance focused on the need not only to protest but to build a solidarity movement that is able to confront the continuation of the US aggression, which will only continue in the years to come.

The rally went forward to the Zionist embassy where a representative from the autonomous anarchist/communist groups made a statement on the prisoner issues in Palestine, and related this to the pressure against asylum seekers and political liberties in Norway. Finally, we announced the formation of the Free Iraq Committee in Norway, which has received attention these last days on our intention to collect funds for medical equipment sent directly to the resistance. In our speech the focus was on the relation between the Palestinian and Iraqi cause, and our need to confront not only wars and occupation, but also to support those resisting occupation. We also spoke out against those claiming that we support “islamic fundamentalists”, and argued that the fundamentalist approach was to be found in those forces supporting the idea that the west could, or should try to enforce its values on the Iraqi nation. We will go forward and launch our committee on the 30th, while openly expressing our goals and actions, and our strong support of the Iraqi resistance, in correlation to international law and moral standards. (Norwegian report on this controversy here

The rally was concluded by a strong statement to support and applause our comrades and friends being held captive by the American aggressors and especially Marwan Barghouti and Abdul Jabbar Al-Kubaisi, both strong symbols of both the repression on the Arab nation, and of hope and resistance. The whole week has been full of activities, by our independent actions we have confronted the forces supporting the US aggression, and made steps towards a stronger solidarity movement for both Iraq and Palestine.

For the Norwegian Free Iraq committee
Lars Akerhaug