Attacks on Gaza have intensified, with Israeli air strikes so far killing 119 Palestinians, including 31 children, and Israeli troops have amassed on the border, while rockets fired from Gaza have thus far killed seven people, including one child. Meanwhile, evictions of Palestinians from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah continue.
In the midst of this, leading members of the Icelandic government have issued strong statements focused on Israel, while a contingent of the general public are asking for more than words.
Foreign Minister Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson told RÚV on Tuesday that the government’s position is that violence must cease “on both sides”, but emphasised that the Israeli occupation is not supported by international law.
“It is quite obvious that this occupation is illegal, as we have said before,” he told reporters. “And we support a two-state solution that both parties have spoken of, and it is quite clear that we need to push for peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians because the situation is, as we know, very bad and must not get worse.”
The Left-Greens, who lead the ruling coalition government, issued a statement of their own on the matter, took a stronger tone.
“The brutal response of the Israeli government to rockets fired from Gaza to Israel, air attacks using drones on an overpopulated region of Palestinians, is indefensible,” the statement reads. “Israeli police action against protesters in Jerusalem is also indefensible.”
The party “condemns the abuse of power, repeated dispossession and removal of Palestinians from their homes which are destroyed and given to Israeli settlers. These are severe violations of international agreements, international law, and human rights.”
There is also a contingent of the Icelandic public who are demanding the government do more than issue statements on the crisis. A protest demonstration, scheduled for 13:00 tomorrow in front of the Parliamentary building, is calling for action.
“We demand that the Icelandic government institute a boycott on Israel until the ethnic cleansing in Sheikh Jarrah is stopped, the attacks on Gaza cease, and the occupation of Palestinian land comes to an end,” the event description states.
What actions, if any, the Icelandic government will actually take remains to be seen.
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