At the time of this writing, nearly 200 Palestinians, including 58 children, have been killed by Israeli bombardments of Gaza, while ten Israelis have been killed by rocket fire from Hamas. On Saturday, Israeli forces leveled a building housing the Associated Press, Al Jazeera, and other media outlets, raising concerns that Israel would be gearing up for increased violence in Gaza.
In the midst of this, some 500 people gathered in front of Iceland’s Parliament last Saturday, urging the Icelandic government to boycott Israel. While there has been a popular movement in Iceland to stop buying anything from Israel, Foreign Minister Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson told Stöð 2 news that Iceland is already doing all that it can, and that a boycott is not in the cards.
While saying that Iceland’s position is that peace talks between Palestine and Israel must commence as soon as possible, and that Iceland has in the past voiced criticisms of human rights violations in other countries, Iceland boycotting Israel would have little effect, saying that it would be “largely symbolic” for a country of 370,000 people.
“We do everything we can, but we must do it in solidarity with those nations that are in a stronger position, and are more likely to succeed,” he said in part. “It is important that we show solidarity with these nations with which we are allied in general. European countries and others. Let’s show that it is the full weight of the international community. Do everything we can to stop this disaster.”
Iceland is a participant in economic pressures, such as boycotts, against 28 countries in the world, but those are for the most part in conjunction with larger countries who initiated or are already participating in these measures.
With that being the case, at least for now, Iceland’s government will only be utilising diplomatic channels to encourage an end to the violence in Gaza.
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