Archive | December 14, 2016

Canada’s New Food Labels won’t Include GMO Info.*

Canada’s New Food Labels won’t Include GMO Info.*

By Étienne Parent

The federal government is in the process of revamping Canada’s food labelling system, but the new labels won’t state whether a particular product contains genetically modified ingredients.

On Dec. 1, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) kicked off its third phase of public consultations to gather the thoughts and concerns of Canadians in an effort to improve food labelling.

In concert with Health Canada, the CFIA aims to modernize food labels in order to help people make more informed decisions when buying groceries.

But information on genetically modified organisms is not included in the Food Labelling Modernization initiative. In response to an emailed request for comment, the CFIA notes that

 “companies can voluntarily add information about whether a particular food contains genetically modified organisms (GMO).”

“A lot of packaged food contains at least one genetically modified ingredient. — Lucy Sharratt, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network


The statement adds that “there is already guidance on method-of-production labelling for these foods” on its website.

“Additionally, Health Canada requires labelling for food products, including genetically engineered (GE) foods, where clear, scientifically established health risks or significant nutritional changes have been identified that can be mitigated through labelling,” the CFIA says.

According to Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN), an Ottawa-based group that opposes genetic engineering, people are being told that the issue is not up for discussion at the public consultations, which began in 2013.

“In fact, [the CFIA] had to introduce consultations by saying that genetic modifications were not included because people were repeatedly bringing that issue to the table,” Sharratt says.

“The general public has been sending a lot of comments to the government and [the CFIA] have said that they are receiving a lot of feedback asking for GM labelling and they had to tell people that that is not on the table. Our question is, why isn’t it on the table when it is so clearly a concern?”

Health Canada says on its website that it doesn’t consider genetically modified food as potentially problematic because there is already a thorough safety assessment process in place—which takes years to complete—before such foods can be sold.

It says Canada’s approach is consistent with international standards set by the Codex Alimentarius Commission on labelling GM food products.

Still, those who advocate for labelling say not enough is known about the risks of GM foods.

Sharratt notes that polls over the past 20 years have consistently shown that the majority of Canadians want to know if a food item contains GMOs.

“Over 80% of Canadians want labelling according to the polls, and that is across two decades. The latest poll was a poll that Ipsos Reid conducted for CBAN in August 2015 that showed 88% of Canadians want mandatory labelling of GM food,” she says.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association estimates that up to 75% of processed food in the Unites States could contain genetically modified ingredients. Sharratt says it would be similar in Canada.

“The main genetically engineered crops that are grown are corn, canola, and soy,” she says.

“These end up in processed food ingredients that are widely used in the North American food market. Therefore, a lot of packaged food contains at least one genetically modified ingredient.”

The CFIA says it has been getting a strong response from Canadians on improving the labelling system; during the first two phases of consultations,

“nearly 3900 stakeholders participated in the various engagement activities, including through face-to-face meetings and online questionnaires.”

Sharratt says the initiative provides an opportunity for the CFIA to include GMOs in the labelling consultations, thereby addressing people’s concerns around the issue.

“With the food label modernization program, the government has an ideal opportunity to address this concern, and yet they have excluded genetic modification from the discussion on food labelling.”


Related Topics:

Largest-Ever GMO Crops Study Shows Massive Environmental Damage in U.S.*

The GMO Agenda is Planned Sterilization of Humanity*

Children Exposed to GMO Soy Pesticides Suffer ‘Serious Genetic Damage*

Monsanto’s GMO Bt Toxins Found in 93% of Pregnant Women*

Herbicide-Resistant Insects Meet GMO Crops – Guess which are Winning*

GMOs Are Mutating Microorganisms and Spawning Deadly New Life Forms‏

GM Foods and Fertility

In Brazil Monsanto’s Roundup is Causing Cancer after Approving 3 GM Crops*

GMO Technology Brought Soaring Cancer, Birth Defects and Failing Farms to Argentina*

Canada Clamps Down on Healthy Living!

Canada Kills Medical Freedom*

The Trudeau Regime Nine Months In


11 Headless Bodies Found near Aden in Yemen*

11 Headless Bodies Found near Aden in Yemen*

An unnamed source told the local Arabic-language al-Ghad news agency that the corpses were found at al-Hiswa reserve in Enma city, which lies nearly 14.5 kilometres northwest of Aden, on Tuesday evening.

The report added that the condition of the bodies suggested they had been dumped there more than a month ago.

No individual or militant group has claimed responsibility for the act of terror yet, and the motive remains unknown.

Aden, Yemen’s second largest city, has witnessed a surge in terror activities by al-Qaeda and Daesh-linked elements over the past year.

For more than a year, Aden has been controlled by loyalists to the administration of former Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a close Saudi ally, but they have so far failed to restore order to the city.

The al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen has taken advantage of the chaos fueled by a deadly Saudi military campaign to tighten its grip on parts of southeast Yemen.

The Takfiri Daesh terrorist group has also gained ground in and around the main southern city of Aden after the army and their Houthi allies were evicted by the Saudi-led offensive, which has been launched in support of the former Hadi government.

Riyadh’s attacks have killed at least 11,400 people in the kingdom’s impoverished neighbor since March 2015, according to the latest tally by a Yemeni monitoring group.



Related Topics:

WikiLeaks Releases 500 Documents Showing U.S. ‘arming and funding’ Yemeni Forces*

This is a List of Labour MP’s that voted to continue to murder children in Yemen*

The Anguish, Bloodshed and Forgotten Heroes in the Ignored War on Yemen*

How Israel Was Busted Nuking Yemen*

U.S. Cluster Bombs Kill Children for Decades in Laos, and Now Yemen*

Israel Stole Babies from Yemen*

A Housewife Reports from War-torn Yemen*

U.S. Earns $33 Billion Arms Sales in Eleven Months from the Destruction of Yemen*

DynCorp Mercenaries Replace Blackwater Mercenaries in Yemen*

CIA Agent Exposes How Al-Qaeda Doesn’t Exist*

U.S. Used Al-Qaeda to Blackmail Yemen*

New Oil Spill in Peru Contaminates Indigenous Community*

New Oil Spill in Peru Contaminates Indigenous Community*

Pastor Dahua, president of the community of Monterrica, on the Marañón River in the Peruvian Amazon, scoops oil from a spill from a Petroperu pipeline on his community’s land – Barbara Fraser


The spill is one of 10 that have occurred since January along the pipeline

By Barbara Fraser

Hunching his shoulders against a driving rain Pastor Dahua scrambled down a muddy bank and stepped across a pool of blackened water to a makeshift shelter that marked the place where crude oil had spilled from an oil pipeline.

The spill in Monterrico, the community of Kukama and Urarina people of which Dahua is president, is one of 10 that have occurred since January along the pipeline that runs from oil fields in the Peruvian Amazon across the Andes Mountains to a port and refinery on the Pacific coast.

The rain worried Dahua. Between November and May, water levels in Amazonian rivers rise by 30 feet or more, flooding villages and forests. If the spill was not cleaned up by the time the flooding began in earnest, Monterrico’s only water supply—a stream that crossed the pipeline near the end of the oil spill—could be contaminated.

Monterrico is one of dozens of communities affected by recent spills. Even more people are exposed to contamination from 40 years of oil operations that dumped oil and salty, metals-laden water into rivers, streams and lakes in Peru’s oldest Amazonian oil fields.

Indigenous protesters stand watch on bank of Marañón River in Saramurillo, Peru, blocking boats from passing, as they pressure the government to solve problems related to pollution from four decades of oil production in the Peruvian Amazon – Barbara Fraser


Government agencies have identified more than 1,000 sites needing cleanup, but have a budget of only about $15 million for testing and remediation. Experts say that is just a fraction of the amount that will be needed.

Anger over the sluggish pace of efforts to address decades of pollution and neglect have come to a head in Saramurillo, on the bank of the Marañón River, a few hours by boat downstream from Monterrico.

Hundreds of people from more than 40 indigenous communities converged there on September 1, blocking boat traffic on the Marañón River, a key transportation route in the northeastern Peruvian region of Loreto, where there are virtually no roads.

Despite an initial meeting with government officials in October, the protest dragged on into December, amid tensions among both the protesters and the travelers and merchants trapped by the blockade.

Workers clean up oil from a late-August spill in Nueva Alianza, Peru, from an oil pipeline operated by the state-run oil company Petroperú, which carries crude from Peru’s northern Amazon region across the Andes Mountains to the Pacific coast


The protesters are calling for a thorough study of the damage done by four decades of oil operations, much of which occurred when environmental regulations were lax or non-existent. They also seek repair or replacement of the pipeline, remediation of damage and compensation for the affected communities.

Ultimately, however, they are calling for Peru to rethink whether pumping oil out of the Amazon is worth the toll on human health and ecosystems.

“The way oil operations are done now is not viable,” said José Fachín, 35, a lanky Kichwa law student who serves as an adviser to the indigenous leaders heading the protest.

Saramurillo, the community at the epicentre of the river blockade, and the neighbouring community of Saramuro are flanked by the pumping station that marks the beginning of the pipeline, which is operated by Petroperú, the state-run oil company. Another pipeline, which carries oil from wells upstream, connects to the main line there.

Indigenous protesters are flanked by tanks at a pumping station shut down by the state-run oil company Petroperú when the protest started in early September – Barbara Fraser


In some ways, the protest echoes the standoff over the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.

“The contexts are different, but some issues are shared,” says Andrew Miller, advocacy director at Amazon Watch, a Washington-based indigenous rights advocacy organization.

Both the Standing Rock protesters and those in Saramurillo are defending the water on which their communities depend, Miller says. Indigenous leaders from Ecuador and Panama have traveled to Standing Rock to highlight links between Indigenous People’s struggles there and those in Latin America.

In North Dakota, however, the pipeline is still under construction, while the communities in Peru are protesting decades of negligence in oil fields and along the poorly maintained pipeline.

The conflict in Peru also underscores tensions among indigenous organizations. For more than a decade, four federations have staged demonstrations and negotiated with government officials over oil pollution in communities along the Corrientes, Pastaza, Tigre and Marañón rivers.

“We’re tired of endless talks,” said Fachín, 35, a lanky Kichwa law student who grew up amid the pollution along the Tigre River and is an adviser to the leaders of the protest in Saramurillo.

The leaders of the organizations represented – in Saramurillo – complain that the four federations involved in past talks do not represent all of the affected communities. They want negotiations with the government to include 15 organizations in five watersheds.

Nearly six weeks into the river blockade, a team of government officials led by Rolando Luque, who heads a department in the Cabinet chief’s office that deals with social conflicts, arrived in Saramurillo for initial talks.

Government officials had asked the protest leaders to meet in Iquitos, the capital of Loreto, which is more than six hours away by river and road, but the leaders insisted on meeting in the village, where everyone involved in the protest could attend.

When the government representatives arrived by helicopter on October 11, they were greeted by more than 400 men, women and children, many in traditional dress, with their faces painted and carrying spears.

After a sometimes tense two-day meeting, the protesters agreed to partially lift the river blockade temporarily—allowing passenger and cargo vessels to pass, but not oil or fuel barges—while the government promised to respond within a week to the indigenous groups’ initial demands.

When they received a response they considered inadequate, the protesters resumed the blockade and repeated their demand that President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who took office on July 28, or some of his Cabinet ministers travel to Saramurillo to continue the talks.

But on November 12, the government reached an agreement with the protesters for more than 80 of the leaders at the protest to travel to Lima to meet with several government ministers, including the Cabinet chief.

That deal, brokered by the Defense Ministry, appeared to be a way of ensuring that the river blockade would be lifted during the week of November 14, while Peru was hosting an international gathering of Asia-Pacific business leaders and heads of state in Lima.

A meeting with the ministers of defense, justice and culture on the night of November 19 paved the way for talks that began December 6 in the village of Saramurillo, and which have continued off and on since then, with the ministers of justice and energy and mines.

Another round of talks is slated for December 14-16, with the minister of production. Both protest leaders and government officials say that round should end with an agreement to be signed by the Cabinet chief, Fernando Zavala, who would travel to Saramurillo for the occasion.

The river blockade is suspended and Petroperú has resumed loading oil barges at the pumping station, in return for restoring electricity and running water to Saramuro and water to Saramurillo. The communities depend on the company for those services.

Meanwhile, five more oil spills have occurred along the pipeline, which is operated by Petroperú, the state-run oil company. Petroperú officials attribute those spills, plus four others, to vandalism.

In a region where jobs are scarce and a day laborer might only earn a few dollars harvesting crops, oil spill cleanup jobs—which have paid between $20 and $50 a day—create a perverse incentive for vandalism, company officials say.

A member of this indigenous community examines an oil spill from a pipeline operated by the state-run oil company Petroperú – Barbara Fraser


Community leaders—including Gilter Yuyarima, president of the Kukama community of Nueva Alianza, where three spills have occurred—say the company blaming them unfairly, and without evidence, for harming the land and water on which their livelihoods depend.

Villages along the rivers have no water or sewer service, so rivers, streams and lakes are the only source of water for drinking, cooking, washing and bathing. Studies have found that most communities’ drinking water is unfit for human consumption. There are no systematic studies of the effect of pollution on the village.

In late October, Petroperú changed its tone slightly in a press release that blamed “political and economic interests” that “use the communities to purposely break the pipeline.” Company spokespersons say the vandals could be local contractors who hope to profit from cleanup work.

Meanwhile, the rainy season has started, and workers—most of them members of the affected communities—are racing the calendar to scoop up the oil and contaminated soil and vegetation before seasonal floodwaters spread the pollution more widely.

In Monterrico, Dahua recalled the day more than two years ago when he and other leaders hiked to a spill site in the Kukama community of Cuninico, where about 2,000 barrels of oil had killed fish and blackened the canal in which the pipeline was built in the Amazon lowlands.

“I never thought it could happen here,” he said.


Related Topics:

Rivers Run Blackened by Big Oil in Peru, which the Indigenous are Left to Clean-up*

Oil vs. Communities: The Case of Peru

Child abduction in Peru, but who are the kidnappers?

Protests against U.S. Military Sending 3000 Troops to Peru*

Peruvian Woman Wins Battle against Multinational Mining Corporation*

Oil Company States They Will Defy Army Corps Order in Standing Rock*

2010 Gulf Oil Spill Caused Widespread Land Loss*

BP, Trafigura and Vitol Export Dirty Oil to Africa to Kill People*

The Oil-Gas War Over Syria*

Norway Aiding Israeli Fuel Extraction on the Golan Heights Under Fire*

In Alaska, Indigenous Voices Raised in the Struggle Between Life and Oil*

Egypt to Begin $10B Privatization Plan with Oil Firms*

U.K. Taxpayers Subsidising World’s Largest Oil Companies to Exploit Its Own Natural Resources*


They Lost their Jungles to Plantations, but these Indigenous Women Grew them Back*

They Lost their Jungles to Plantations, but these Indigenous Women Grew them Back*

When a governmental effort to encourage cash crops threatened their food security and native land, India’s indigenous families came together to revive their traditional food systems

By Anuradha Sengupta

It is early morning in Dhepagudi, a sleepy hamlet nestled in the green hills of Odisha, India. Admai Kumruka is sifting millet in a traditional sieve made of bamboo strips. Children mill around, playing on a mud and sand mound. A few huts down, Rello Dindika is sorting through harvested corn. A group of women are chopping fresh pumpkin leaves and flowers for a stir-fry dish. They have finished morning chores and farming work and are now preparing breakfast. Some of the corn will be ground to a powder for a wholesome porridge. The rest will be popped in clay vessels for evening snacks.

“We have mandya or kosla [varieties of millets] or maka [corn] porridge in the mornings sometimes with roots and tubers or gondri saag [a variety of greens] foraged from the jungles,” Kumruka says.

“In the afternoons and evenings, we make rice with tubers, vegetables and legumes. Sometimes we add wild mushrooms or jhotta [okra] and holud [turmeric roots].”

The women belong to the Khond community, a large indigenous tribal group of India that has relied for generations on a rich and diverse variety of native millets and foraged jungle foods. That is, until the state forest department proposed that forest lands be cleared for cash crops like teak, eucalyptus, soy, and cotton.

About 70 varieties of vegetables, millets, legumes, and corn are grown using traditional methods


Following years of extractive forest management practices established under British rule, India’s government began a paradigm shift in the late 1980s toward prioritizing ecological conservation and recognizing the rights of the tribal communities. Then, in July, it passed a controversial bill to govern how the country’s forests are razed, cut, and reforested. The new measure was strongly opposed by environmentalists and tribal advocates who argued it would ease government seizure of tribal forests.

“The forests were managed by community resource management under the Forest Rights Act,” says Hrusikesh Panda, former secretary of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. Panda, who retired last year, has consistently criticized the present government’s attempts to tamper with tribal rights.

“Now the forest department has become very aggressive,” he says.

Kumruka recounts how entire patches of forest were taken for plantations, and how much of her tribe’s green wealth disappeared.

“We had so many different millets on our plates earlier, and jungle tubers, saags, mushrooms, and so many mahua trees,” she says.

The ubiquitous mahua is central to the lives of adivasis—the aboriginal people of South Asia. The plant’s waxy flowers infuse the jungle with a heady fragrance and are distilled into a traditional liquor. Its leaves are woven into cups and plates. Its oil is used in many ways: in traditional medicine, as hair oil, to massage newborn babies, in soap, and for cooking and lighting lamps. The seeds, fruits, and flowers are all cooked. The bark relieves itching and heals wounds and snake bites. But all this disappeared when forests were exchanged for plantations.

In adivasi villages, goats, in background, are a mainstay of traditional diets


Traditionally, adivasis had grown mixed varieties of crops to maintain soil fertility. They stored and exchanged seeds after each harvest to ensure local adaptability and availability. Then they watched with dismay as industrial tree plantations converted a once diverse forest ecosystem into a single-species cash crop.

Miles southwest of Kumruka’s hamlet, the people of Khalpadar village were going through a similar experience. Large swaths of surrounding forests had been leveled by the forest department to make way for plantations, disrupting the adivasis’ traditional food ethos. When the villagers protested, they were told that cheap rice and wheat would be available under the public distribution system (PDS), the government food security program that distributes subsidized food to the poor.

PDS meals consisted of rice, lentils, milk, and oil. Prices at the market were too steep for most villagers. Their diets suffered, and their children lacked nutrition. Young adivasis who travelled to towns for education or stayed in government boarding schools were exposed to a modern world of industrialized food. Once back home, they asked for soybean nuggets and Maggi, Nestlé’s popular instant noodles that have been found to hold alarmingly high levels of MSG and lead. The women looked back to a time when their plates held a variety of millets, fruits, birds, animals, insects, seeds, roots, and tubers. As their culinary culture slipped away, so did their sense of identity and pride.

“Traditionally, adivasis have had a very rich cultivated and uncultivated food biodiversity, but the younger generation is out of touch with that,” says Salome Yesudas, a nutrition researcher who has been documenting the food systems of indigenous tribes in southern India since 1995.

“There is a law saying all [Integrated Child Development Services] meals should be cooked, served hot, and made from locally sourced foods, but it is tough to keep a check to see that this is being implemented,” she says of the powder-packet canteen meals served by ICDS, a government welfare program that provides food, preschool education, and primary health care to children under 6 in mostly rural areas.

Adivasi women meet to discuss food sovereignty


“The state of nutritional affairs is avoidable”, says Debjeet Sarangi, founder and director of Living Farms, a nongovernmental organization that works on issues related to food and nutritional security in Odisha.

“Forest foods are great sources of micronutrients and are easily available and accessible to these communities.”

Living Farms has documented more than 350 high-nutrient forest foods harvested by adavasis in the region—foods, researchers say, could provide a solution to micronutrient deficiency, a condition termed “hidden hunger.” Sarangi says it is unfortunate that adivasis, who have sustainably harvested forest food for generations, are being displaced and their knowledge lost as forests are cut down for agriculture and industrial purposes.

Resisting that fate, the women of Khalpadar have risen to block destructive development. They have held meetings with officials and other villages to find consensus to save their forests. When officials repeatedly refused to listen, villagers cut down the cash crops and planted their own traditional crops.

“We planted dates, mangoes, jackfruit, tamarind, jaamkoli [a berry],” says Balo Shikoka, a Khalpadar villager. Forest officials notified the police, who soon came to arrest the villagers.

“We said, Fine, we will go to prison for this. But you will have to take all of us—women, children, elders, everyone. We will all go to prison for the jungle. We’ll stay in your jail, but we won’t eat your city food. The officials just left,” Shikoka laughs.

“When they came to persuade us to plant eucalyptus and teak, we refused,” recounts Timoli Kurunjelika, another villager.

“Even though they said, You will get more money.”

The soil, damaged by plantations, took time to replenish. The trees took years to regrow. But their efforts paid off, and today, after much work, the hills around Kumruka are flourishing with indigenous trees, plants, and flowers.

An adivasi woman chops greens from her fields


“This year, from June to July alone, we have regrown jungles in 35 villages in Muniguda block,” says Sukhomoti Shikoka, a resident of Muniguda.

About 6,000 families have got involved, each planting 10 to 15 trees. Now the nutrition needs of our children will be well met, even when rains are gone.”

Living Farms conducts qualitative dietary diversity studies every six months to measure access to food variety and assess dietary nutrition in Odisha. Since 2014, it found that the number of families with poor diets had decreased from 58% to 18%.

The organization has also recently launched a school project in which children learn from farmers to identify, grow, and cook traditional foods. In many districts, newly established tribal food festivals bring together adivasi communities to exchange ideas, information, and seeds. And several adivasi schools have introduced holidays celebrating local harvest festivals and rituals, in contrast to the current holidays largely based on mainstream Hindu festivals.

“We are looking at reviving local food systems,” Sarangi says.

Young adivasis are now joining the movement. Jagannath Majhi, who belongs to the Khond community, works in villages to raise awareness about the importance of locally available foods, traditional seed conservation, jungle diversity, and the need for protection. He says he decided to do this when he saw the deep sense of inferiority his people had developed.

“They felt their food wasn’t good enough because outsiders—city people and the government—would reiterate that what they ate wasn’t ‘real food,’” he says.

It is astounding to him now to see the recent trend among industrialized societies of adopting his traditional foods.

“Everyone in the world is running after millets, and chefs on TV are talking about red ant chutney.”

He thwacks his palm to his forehead when he hears city residents pay as much $2 for a half-pound of millets.

In the villages of Odisha, adivasi women sing songs that articulate their dependence on the hills and forests, pointing out that the forest doesn’t just provide their families with food—it also helps them heal

Admai Kumruka of Dhepagudi village sifts ragi (a variety of millet). Indigenous villagers grow a variety of wild nutrient-rich millets.



Related Topics:

WTO Agreement: India Sells Out on Indian Food Rights*

India’s Organic Rice Revolution Proves GMOs Are Unnecessary*

Mini, Bio-Intensive Farms Providing Organic Food in the Middle of a Seven Year Drought*

India: The re-assimilation of the Jewel in the Crown of Western Empire*

India: Seaweed Providing a New Economy for Rural Women*

GM Caused Crop Failure in India and Bangladesh*

300 Year Old Vietnamese Forest Food System

Philippines: Indigenous Forestry Recognized

Women Warriors Take Environmental Protection into Their Own Hands*

Rainforest Activists Win against One of Pepsi’s Closest Business Partners*

Norway Aiding Israeli Fuel Extraction on the Golan Heights Under Fire*

Norway Aiding Israeli Fuel Extraction on the Golan Heights Under Fire*

By Ryan Rodrick Beiler

Protesters denounce collaboration with Israeli fossil fuel extraction in front of the Norwegian foreign ministry in Oslo in September – Ryan Rodrick Beiler ActiveStills


A growing movement in Norway is challenging collaboration with Israeli exploitation of fossil fuel resources in the occupied Golan Heights and the Mediterranean Sea.

While producing much of its own energy from renewable sources, especially hydropower, Norway’s prosperity is built in large part on its fossil fuel industry.

Oil and gas, extracted through offshore platforms, has helped to create one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds. The Government Pension Fund Global, known informally in Norway as “the oil fund,” has divested from Israeli companies due to their involvement in violations of human rights.

Israel delegation

But in September, Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Tord Lien of the ultra-right Progress Party, led a delegation to Israel with representatives from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim and the University of Stavanger. The purpose of the delegation was to explore possibilities for research and industrial collaboration in oil and gas extraction.

The delegation met with the Delek Group, which provides fuel for the Israeli military and operates gas stations and convenience stores in West Bank settlements. The firm is planning to begin production in the next two to three years in major offshore gas fields in the Mediterranean.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the gas fields “a gift from God” that would give the country energy independence. Sixteen years ago, the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had made a nearly identical statement, but Israel’s blockade of Gaza has made Palestinian exploration of these resources impossible.

The Israeli subsidiary of U.S.-based Genie Energy is already drilling for oil in the Golan Heights, Syrian territory occupied by Israel since its capture in 1967. In recent years, Israel has exploited the ongoing war in Syria to seek international recognition of its annexation of the territory.


This month the student government at the University of Oslo adopted a resolution opposing cooperation in petroleum technology between Norwegian and Israeli institutions.

“Research cooperation has its limits; not all international cooperation is good cooperation,” Kristina Muñoz Ledo Klakegg, who introduced the resolution and serves in the student government, stated.

“It puts pressure on the student democracies elsewhere in Norway to take a stance when we do.”

Because the University of Oslo is not directly involved in petroleum research, the resolution calls on other schools to adopt such measures and tighten ethical guidelines to give human rights and international law a greater role in the formation or continuation of academic cooperation.

A group of Norwegian academics and labour unions are petitioning the University of Stavanger and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology to end natural resource exploitation research projects with Israeli institutions.

“To assist Israel with academic expertise in petroleum technology will strengthen the strategic and economic position of the Israeli occupation at the expense of the rights of the Palestinians,” the petition states.


On 5 November, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s student parliament passed a resolution demanding an end to all communication and collaboration between the school and Israeli institutions regarding petroleum extraction. In 2013, the University of Stavanger entered into an agreement with Technion, an Israeli university deeply embedded with Israel’s military industry.

Such cooperation with Israeli institutions would appear to conflict with Norway’s role as the head of the Donor Group on Palestine, which coordinates foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority, and its foreign policy in general, which is consistent with the international legal consensus that all settlements in the occupied West Bank are illegal.

Israel’s exploitation of natural resources claimed by the Palestinian Authority also stands in violation of the Oslo accords signed by the Palestinian leadership and Israel in the mid-1990s.

That agreement includes “co-operation in the field of energy, including an energy development program, which will provide for the exploitation of oil and gas [and] will encourage further joint exploration of other energy resources.”


Related Topics:

U.N. Passes Resolution Urging Israel to Leave Syria’s Golan Heights*

Israel Consolidates Grip on Golan under Cover of Syria’s Engineered Chaos*

Israel Starts Demolition of Homes in the their Illegal Occupation of Syria’s Golan Heights*

Drilling in Golan Heights by U.S.Corporations*

Armageddon on the Golan Heights*

Syria Demands Israel Return the Golan Heights*

Rothschild Crime Syndicate in Israel *

Israel Grants Oil Rights in Syria to Murdoch and Rothschild*

Israelis Trafficking in Syrian Children’s Body Organs*

Israeli Hospitals Send Bodies of Terrorists back to Syria*

Corporate Media Silent on M.E. on Israel and Turkey Strike on Syrian Oil Deal*

Greater Israel” Requires the Breaking up of Existing Arab States*