Norwegian 14-year-old trapped in Gaza

A 14-year-old Norwegian girl trapped in the Gaza strip has surprised foreign minister Espen Barth Eide on his visit to the region, begging him to lobby Israel to let her return home.

Norwegian 14-year-old trapped in Gaza
The beach in Gaza - Gisha Organization
Mariam al-Najjar was on holiday visiting family this summer when Egypt's government was overthrown by a military coup, since when she, and 75 other Norwegian citizens, have not been able to cross the border into either Egypt or Israel. 
"I want to learn at school in Norway, because the school system is much better there than here," Mariam told the foreign minister.
Eide said he would try to help, but could not promise a solution. 
"It's a very good illustration of what happened to very many people here. They come here on holiday, but can not come out again," he said. "It's a hopeless situation." 

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Norway’s biggest trade union angers Israel with boycott

Norway's biggest trade union voted Friday in favour of a boycott against Israel, a decision immediately condemned by Israeli diplomats who judged it "immoral".

Norway's biggest trade union angers Israel with boycott
File image of Israel's ambassador to Norway, Raphael Schutz. Photo: Tore Meek/Scanpix

The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) went against a recommendation from its leadership and voted 197 to 117 in favour of an international economic, cultural and academic boycott against Israel because of the current impasse over the Palestine issue.

LO, which also called for Norway to recognise a Palestinian state according to the 1967 borders, was criticised by the government.

“Norwegian government strongly opposes Norw Labour Union's decision: #boycott of #Israel. We need more cooperation and dialogue, not boycott,” Foreign Minister Borge Brende wrote on Twitter.

Israel's embassy in Oslo said it “condemns in the strongest terms” the boycott.

“This immoral resolution reflects deeply rooted attitudes of bias, discrimination and double standard towards the Jewish state,” ambassador Raphael Schutz wrote in an email to AFP.

Noting that LO had also called for the dismantling of a barrier erected by Israel separating it from the Palestinian territories, Schutz said that “by adopting these positions LO placed itself shoulder to shoulder with the worst enemies of Israel”.

Norway hosted Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in the early 1990s that led to the now-defunct Oslo accords.

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