Sit-In in Support of Palestine at Iceland’s Foreign Ministry Skip to content
Sit-in for Palestine May 30, 2024 at Iceland's Foreign Ministry. Photo: Kata Jóhanness
Photo: Kata Jóhanness. Sit-in for Palestine May 30, 2024 at Iceland’s Foreign Ministry.

Sit-In in Support of Palestine at Iceland’s Foreign Ministry

A group of protesters has begun a sit-in at Iceland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs due to Icelandic authorities’ lack of action on Palestine, RÚV reports. The group is not from a single organisation, rather is a diverse group of civilians who say they are fed up with Iceland’s lack of action and aim to disrupt business as usual until the government reacts. Their demands include that trade sanctions be imposed on Israel and that the Icelandic government sever diplomatic relations with the country.

“It’s been 234 days of an escalating genocide of Palestinian people and Icelandic authorities have done nothing to prevent it,” Salvör Gullbrá Þórarinsdóttir, one of the protesters, told reporters. “The government has said that they want a ceasefire in Gaza and kept saying that they aim for peace and a two-state solution but those are all empty words and they are not followed by any actions.”

Protesters request meeting with minister

Salvör Gullbrá says that the recent attack of the Israeli army on Rafah where civilians were killed was the last straw. “A horrifying attack where people were burned alive.” Salvör says that the protest will continue until the government takes action. The group has asked for a meeting with Foreign Minister Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir and has not been granted meetings with any ministry staff at this point.

“It’s is very clear that the Icelandic public wants a ceasefire in Palestine and supports Palestinian people,” Salvör stated. “This is apparent in various surveys that have been conducted about the public’s dissatisfaction when Iceland abstained on a ceasefire vote last October.” Salvör also pointed to the controversy surrounding Iceland’s participation in the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest on the same grounds.

Demand sanctions and coordinated action

The protester’s demands are as follows:

  1. That trade sanctions be imposed on the State of Israel.
  2. That Iceland sever diplomatic relations with the State of Israel.
  3. That Iceland support South Africa’s lawsuit against Israel before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
  4. That Minister for Foreign Affairs Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir initiate a discussion on coordinated actions with the Nordic countries, Ireland, and Spain.

Norway, Ireland, and Spain officially recognised the State of Palestine recently, an action Iceland was the first among Nordic countries to do so, in 2011. The Iceland-Palestine Association is echoing those first two demands in a protest to be held in outside the regular cabinet meeting tomorrow morning.

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