Norway’s Position of Israel’s violation of International Law

Call of October 2019

The initiators of this call support the principle position of the Norwegian authorities that countries which seriously and persistently violate international law should be met with economic and political sanctions.

For many decades the state of Israel has been criticized by the international community for its violations of international law, humanitarian law and human rights. This criticism has been raised by UN agencies, international courts, human rights organisations, humanitarian organisations and individual countries. On several occasions Norway has also expressed similar criticism.

Despite conventions, UN resolutions and condemnation from the international community, Israel has continued its policy of oppression of the Palestinian people, blockade and warfare against the people living in the Gaza Strip, settlement policy in occupied territories, annexation of Palestinian land and neglect of decisions made by the UN Security Council.

Today we must realize that the prospect for a just and peaceful solution seems more distant than ever, and that the situation for the Palestinians is deteriorating day by day. The absence of punitive responses to Israel’s notorious breach of humanitarian law and disregard for international law can be understood as support to an Israeli state that considers itself above international norms relevant to protection of occupied peoples and territories. This absence of reactions from the international community undermines the importance of international law itself as regulative norm within the international legal system.

We are deeply concerned about this obvious absence of reactions to Israel’s serious and persistent violation of international law. While crimes committed by Israel are only met with verbal criticism from the international community, we see that violations of international law committed by other countries lead to concrete penalties and heavy sanctions.

Norway aspire recognition as a strong defender of international law, democracy and human rights. However, in the political platform of the present Norwegian government, as the only country in the world Israel is granted a special status which express the Norwegian government ambition to «facilitate enhanced research and development cooperation, trade, tourism and cultural exchange with Israel». By this, Norway choose to grant Israel special privileges in spite of their persistent and increased violations of international law. As Norwegian lawyers, we are deeply concerned about this position of the Norwegian authorities towards serious violations of basic humanitarian and international legal principles.

In the period between the two world wars, there was an absence of a system of international law. Consequently, the international community was without instruments to confront the violations committed by states against ethnic, national and religious groups in a number of countries. Today we have international regulations and international bodies to protect individuals and groups of people from such atrocities. If we are not consistent in our defense of this legal system, it will be undermined and lose its power as a protecting mechanism of fundamental human rights.

Norwegian authorities must contribute to restore respect for international law and work to ensure that Israel’s persistent and serious violation of international law is met with sanctions. This will clearly demonstrate that the policies that are now implemented by the state of Israel cannot be accepted by the international community.

The attached position paper will explain the legal basis for this call.


Professor Kristian Andenæs

Attorney Edvard Bakke

Attorney Siri Bergem

Professor Jan Fridthjof Bernt

Attorney Sissel Bjørkseth

Lawyer Oda Marie Bjørvik

Associate Attorney Hedda Larsen Borgan

Attorney Kjell M. Brygfjeld

Attorney Steinar W. Christensen

Attorney Håkon Elvenes

Attorney Bent Endresen

Attorney Marthe Engøy

Lawyer Ella Havnevik Giske

Attorney Cathrine Grøndahl

Attorney Pål Hadler

Attorney Christopher Hansteen

Attorney Helge Hjetland

Attorney Helge Hjort

Attorney Ivar Holst

Attorney Geir Hovland

Attorney Frode Sulland

Attorney Harald Thoresen

Attorney Geir Høin

Attorney Solveig Kristine Høgtun

Attorney Berit Jagmann

Professor Alice Kjellevold

Attorney Kirsten Langseth

Attorney Mette Yvonne Larsen

Lawyer Ketil Lund

Lawyer Kirsten Vikesland Mæhle

Attorney Lornts Nagelhus

Former Supreme Court Lawyer Gunnar Nerdrum

Lawyer Bente Ohnstad

Lawyer Anders Parmann

Professor Øyvind Ravna

Attorney Knut Rognlien

Attorney Bente Oftedal Roli

Attorney Olav Rød

Attorney Ole Tom Røed

PhD Candidate Tarjei Ellingsen Røsvoll

Attorney Marit Lomundal Sæther

Attorney Lorentz Stavrum

Professor Peter Th. Ørebech

Professor Henriette Sinding Aasen