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Question of Palestine

GA: Question of Palestine

Statement by Ambassador Tore Hattrem on Question of Palestine, 29 November 2018.

| General Assembly

Madam President,

Norway has been a consistent partner for promoting peace and security in the Middle East for decades. Our commitment to help achieving a negotiated two-state solution is firm. A comprehensive resolution that addresses the final status issues and the aspirations of both peoples is long overdue. Only the two-state solution can provide durable peace and security for both parties. 

Madam President,

We are deeply concerned about the fragile situation in and around Gaza. The period of 11-13 November saw one of the fiercest exchanges of fire since the 2014 Gaza conflict. All parties must prevent further escalation of violence and make a serious effort in stabilizing the situation.

Madam President,

Norway chaired a ministerial meeting of the international donor group to Palestine, the AHLC, in New York on 27 September. The participants welcomed the UN humanitarian package to Gaza, and called for its implementation as a matter of urgency, in coordination with the PA.  Norway supports these efforts, and provides additional assistance to the UN.

The AHLC meeting also called for urgent action to mitigate the risks to the Palestinian economy. A combination of major reductions in donor contributions, significant revenue losses due to fiscal leakages, and continued restrictions on Palestinian access and movement has led to a serious decline in the Palestinian economy in 2018. There is a risk of further deterioration next year unless the outstanding fiscal issues between the parties are addressed.

Madam President,

Gaza is facing severe economic, humanitarian and social challenges. Unimpeded provision of humanitarian assistance to Gaza is important for the local population, and for regional stability. There is an urgent need for improved access to clean water and energy, job creation, and for increased movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza. We welcome the resumed delivery of fuel to Gaza’s power plant since October, which has significantly increased the amount of electricity available to the population.  

Madam President,

Hamas bears a major share of the responsibility for the dire situation in Gaza. It is the PA and the international community, not Hamas, which are providing assistance to the people of Gaza. We support the Egyptian commitment to facilitate Palestinian reconciliation, and the PA’s efforts to reinstate its governance in Gaza and to reunite Palestine under one legitimate authority. Notwithstanding this, it is counter-productive to stop supporting Gaza financially, and thus further impoverish the population. Israel, for its part, must lift the extensive restrictions on the movement of people and goods into and out of Gaza.

Madam President,

UNRWA remains indispensable for the most vulnerable Palestine refugees. The organization provides essential services and contributes to regional stability. The donors must remain committed to supporting UNRWA, especially when the organization is facing a very challenging period, financially.

Madam President,

Recent developments in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, including the decision to demolish the village Khan al-Ahmar, are of great concern. We welcome the announcement by Israel on 21 October to delay the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar. The location of Khan al-Ahmar is of strategic importance for preserving the contiguity of a future Palestinian state.

Thank you.