The Ministry is advising against trade and business cooperation with the illegal Israeli settlements

Information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 7 March 2024:

Norway has long held the position that Israel’s policy of building settlements on occupied land is in violation of international law and must cease. This is in line with a number of UN Security Council resolutions, including resolution 2334 (2016). The settlements on occupied land undermine the prospects of achieving a peaceful solution to the conflict and pose a threat to peace and security in the region.

Norway has made it plain that Israel must therefore withdraw from existing settlements and end all development of new settlements. Norway has also clearly expressed its positions on evictions, house demolitions and settler violence.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague and the UN Security Council have both established that third states have an obligation to refrain from providing Israel with any assistance to be used in connection with the Israeli settlements on occupied land, which are in violation of international law. Norway has followed this up with respect to the territorial application of EFTA’s Free Trade Agreement with Israel. Goods produced in occupied territory do not benefit from this Agreement. In addition, in 2022, the Norwegian Government decided to introduce measures to contribute to identification of products produced in occupied territory. A product originating in an Israeli settlement must be labelled as such. This is also consistent with the call from the UN Security Council to distinguish between the territory of the State of Israel and the occupied territories, as laid down in UN Security Council resolution 2334.

In general, the Norwegian authorities advise against economic activity that causes or contributes to actions that represent violations of international law, including violations of human rights and the rules of international humanitarian law for the protection of civilians in armed conflicts. On this basis, Norwegian companies are advised not to engage in business cooperation or trade that serve to perpetuate the illegal Israeli settlements.

The Government expects Norwegian companies to operate responsibly and show respect for human rights, and to be familiar and comply with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Companies are expected to identify, prevent and mitigate potential adverse impacts on human rights, including the protection of civilians in conflicts, as enshrined in international humanitarian law.

Under the guidelines companies are required to carry out strict due diligence to identify risks of adverse human rights impacts of any activities involving conflict areas or situations that entail an increased risk of serious violations. In such situations, activities that cause or contribute to adverse human rights impacts should be avoided and when necessary discontinued. Companies should also consider the need to dissolve existing business relationships. Under the Transparency Act, enterprises are required by law to carry out due diligence to identify and address actual and potential adverse impacts on human rights and decent working conditions that the enterprise has either caused or contributed toward, or that are directly linked with the enterprise's operations, products or services via the supply chain or business partners.

The Norwegian business sector should be aware that there are financial and legal risks associated with all economic activity that supports the settlements, including trade, investments, purchases and procurements. Attention must also be paid to any possible violations of international humanitarian law and human rights. Potential buyers and investors should bear in mind that a future peace settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, or between Israel and Syria, may have implications for property and/or economic activities in the settlements. Norwegian citizens and companies should also be aware that economic and financial activity in the settlements may have negative reputational impacts.

More information can be found here: