Some 100 protesters convened outside the Prime Minister’s Residence in Tjarnargata this morning to protest the government’s handling of policy towards Palestine. They criticise authorities for not doing more to bring residents of Gaza who already hold Icelandic visas to the country on the basis of family reunification. The protesters chanted: “The children of Gaza are our children”.
Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir met with protesters outside and sat down with an advocacy group leader to discuss pleas for Iceland to support South Africa’s case against Israel before the International Court of Justice, Mbl.is reports. South Africa has is seeking an emergency suspension of Israel’s military campaign in Gaza.
Public support for Palestine
Katrín met with Hjálmtýr Heiðdal, head of the Association Iceland-Palestine, who handed her a letter from the association along with a copy of South Africa’s charge. “If authorities suspect a genocide in the making, not to mention one already in progress, then it is their duty to step in,” Hjálmtýr told Mbl.is. He added that the best thing that the Icelandic government could do at this point would be to support South Africa’s case. “It is very important to do so right away.”
Hjálmtýr reiterated that Katrín had in the past supported the idea of severing political relations with Israel and added that polls show that three of every four Icelanders support the Palestinian cause. “110 children are being killed every day and it just keeps going,” he said. “They have to try to stop this. South Africa’s case could apply some pressure.”
Activists camped out in front of Alþingi
Local activists slept in tents in front of Alþingi, the Icelandic Parliament, on Saturday night in solidarity with Palestinian protesters who have camped there since December 27. The group has made three demands of Icelandic authorities. Firstly, to carry out the family reunifications for which they have already granted visas. Secondly, a meeting with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Justice, and the Minister of Social Affairs and the Labour Market. Thirdly, to stop the ongoing deportations of Palestinian people in Iceland and grant them international protection.