Efforts to bring about a lasting settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have come to a standstill. But, only a negotiated two-state solution can provide lasting peace, security and prosperity for both peoples.
The security situation in and around Gaza remains fragile and instable. Norway is deeply concerned about the recurring flare-ups of violence, and the high number of lives lost. All parties have an obligation to protect civilians, and refrain from actions that could reignite the conflict.
We commend the efforts and good work of Egypt and the UN Special Coordinator to prevent the situation from escalating. We encourage all parties to abstain from unilateral actions that obstruct a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
Norway’s position on the Israeli settlements and the annexation of occupied territories remains firm. They are in contravention of international law. All actions taken towards further settlement expansion and annexations, as well as house demolitions- including in East Jerusalem- are unacceptable, and will undermine the possibility of achieving a negotiated two-state solution.
It is incumbent upon Fatah, Hamas and other Palestinian factions to commit to reconciliation, and once again reunify Palestine under one legitimate political authority.
We regret to note that the Palestinian Authority is not providing the needed medical supplies to Gaza.
Norway chaired a ministerial meeting of the international donor group to Palestine, the AHLC, here in New York on September 26. The meeting confirmed the broad international support for a negotiated two-state solution as the basis for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The AHLC members called for immediate steps to remedy the dire financial situation of the Palestinian Authority. And, in this respect, we welcome arrangements reached between the two parties on financial issues after the AHLC meeting. We encourage Israel and the Palestinian Authority to extend their dialogue with a view to finding durable solutions to other outstanding economic issues.
When the AHLC reconvenes in Brussels in the spring of 2020, we must make sure that this dialogue has resulted in tangible progress on the ground. As pointed to by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, facilitating trade and opening up Area C in the West Bank for Palestinian use are preconditions for a more sustainable Palestinian economy.
In September AHLC members also urged donors to step up humanitarian and other support for Gaza. There is an urgent need for improving access to: clean water and energy, job creation, and for increased movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza.
We welcome the recent calls for general elections in Palestine. We encourage all parties to act constructively in facilitating, and holding, free and fair elections across Palestine. Including East Jerusalem and Gaza. Norway stands ready to offer support.
The need for UNRWA remains greater than ever. Both as a service provider for the most vulnerable people, and as a regional stabilizer. Norway remains a reliable partner of UNRWA. We are committed to continuing our financial and political support to the organization until there is a political solution to the refugee issue.
We urge all donors to continue supporting UNRWA. Especially now when the organization is facing financial and political challenges.
As a consistent partner, Norway has a long-standing commitment to work for peace and security in the Middle East. Supporting the conditions for a just and lasting peace for the Palestinian and Israeli peoples will remain a key priority of our foreign policy.