Oslo: Palestinian refugee camp to stay

Oslo: Palestinian refugee camp to stay

Via NRK (Norwegian):

A planned police operation against the Palestinian tent-camp in central Oslo has been cancelled Monday by the new city government.

Hassan Al Nemnem (30) came to Norway two years ago. For the past seven months he's been living on the street, and in a camp at the Jacob's Church of Culture together with 25 other Palestinian asylum seekers.

"I came to Norway for a better life. To return to Gaza is not an alternative for me," he tells NRK.

Last week he and the others were told the tent-camp must be removed. Monday the planned police operation against the camp was stopped by the new city government.

"It's tragic that nobody is shutting down the camp," Morten Ørsal Johansen, immigration police spokesperson for the Progress Party, told NRK. "A city government that instructs the police is simply brazen. They're asking the police to break the law."

Ola Elvestuen (Liberals), commissioner for the environment and transport, is the one behind it all. The first thing he did when he was appointed as commissioner in Oslo was to ask to police not to shut down the camp.

"Those who do nothing, can do no wrong. Therefore I hope Elvestuen does nothing in the future instead of making decisions like these," says Ørsal Johansen.

The Palestinian asylum seekers have been living in the makeshift tent camp next to Jacob's Church of Culture since April. Twenty five people live in the camp today, all their asylum applications were denied.

The Progress Party's new immigration police spokesperson thinks there's now just one thing to do: deport them from Norway.

"We're talking here about Palestinians who are residing in Norway illegally. Their applications were rejected, and that means they should beLink returned voluntarily to their homeland. If they don't leave Norway voluntarily, it's up to the authorities to deport them."

Ola Elvestuen (Liberals) emphasize that the tent-camp will be shut down sooner or later.

"We must first establish a dialog with the Palestinians who live there, and find a solution together. We've just now put together a new city council. Eventually we'll find out how to deal with this case. What's certain is that they can't have a tent camp standing forever."

Ørsal Johansen thinks that's not enough, and he wants the Justice Minister to get involved. " Knut Storberget is responsible for the police and the immigration authorities in this country. Now he should make a decision in this case," he concludes.


The 'Norway, Israel and the Jews' blog has more on the Palestinian refugee camp in downtown Oslo.

Update: Slight translation fixes