The Norwegian Ministry of Finance excluded the Norwegian organization Karmel-instituttet from the list of organizations that receive tax deductions for providing financial support to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, a statement by Norwegian advocacy groups said Wednesday.
The ministry’s decision came following advocacy work and pressure from Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) and the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees (NUMGE).
“We are very pleased that the Ministry of Finance has made this decision, based on the fact that Karmel provides funds to the illegal Israeli settlements,” said NPA secretary general Liv Tørres.
The Ministry of Finance said in a press release that its intention behind its decision was “to ensure that the system of tax deductions does not benefit organisations that actively support or contribute to acts that are in contravention of international law.”
It said, “On the basis of information from the Karmel-institute about their transfer of financial support to Israeli settlements and the organisation’s own stated intention to continue providing such support, the Ministry of Finance has decided that gifts to the organization are no longer tax-deductible.”
Commenting on the decision, Stein Gulbrandsen of NUMGE said: “Norwegian citizens who have provided financial support to Karmel-instituttet through the years must now contemplate that their support has constituted a contribution to breaches of international law.”
Tørres and Gulbrandsen said the NPA and NUMGE will continue to focus on how “we may prevent all Norwegian financial support to the Israeli settlements.” They add that, “We see the decision of the Ministry of Finance as an important political signal from the Norwegian government, that such activities are unacceptable.”
Karmel-instituttet is a Norwegian organisation that has for a number of years provided financial support to the illegal Israeli settlement of Alonei Shilo in the occupied Palestinian territories. According to the organization, around half of the houses in the settlement -- 23 caravan-homes and three “study centres” -- were paid for through funds collected by Karmel-instituttet from Norwegian citizens.