Thank you Special Coordinator Wennesland for your thorough and concerning statement; and thank you also to Daniel Levy and Hanan Ashrawi for your very valuable contributions.
Let me begin by reiterating Norway’s enduring commitment to a broad political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This conflict is often over-shadowed by seemingly more urgent crises on the Council’s agenda, yet it is critical that we keep focus on the need to address the underlying issues here as well.
We reaffirm our support for a negotiated two-state solution on the basis of:
The 1967 lines; relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolution 2334; international law; and internationally agreed parameters- where Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side in peace, and within secure and recognised borders.
The current relative calm in Gaza, as well as the recent increase in imports and number of work permits issued, is a positive development. The distribution of cash assistance to tens of thousands of vulnerable families has also been successful. However, as the Special Coordinator has highlighted, this situation is not sustainable. The closure of Gaza must be lifted.
And to improve the lives of Palestinians living in Gaza, we must spur economic growth: By allowing many more Gazans to seek work in Israel and in the West Bank; generating good jobs in Gaza itself; and easing import and export restrictions.
We call on all actors to contribute to keeping the calm, and avoiding further hostilities. And we support all efforts to secure a long-term and stable ceasefire. Calm is a pre-requisite for true progress in rebuilding Gaza better. Norway welcomes the signals from the Israeli Government that it will support improving living conditions in Gaza. And the Palestinian Authority will remain our partner for development efforts in Palestine, including in Gaza.
We are deeply concerned about Israeli plans to implement the E-1 settlement plan. Such settlements would cut off East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, and undermine the viability of a contiguous Palestinian state. Israeli settlements on occupied territory constitutes a violation of international law. We urge Israel to halt: settlement activities, house demolitions, and evictions. These actions have not only inflamed the recent escalations around Gaza, they go against international efforts to stabilise the situation and solve the conflict.
We are also deeply worried about the increased violence, including settler violence, in the West Bank. We remind Israel of its responsibility to protect civilians- especially children- and call on Israel to stop the use of live ammunition against Palestinian protesters. We also call on the PA to respect human rights and to secure the space for civil society.
Norway welcomes the renewed high-level dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. We stand ready to assist in further strengthening this dialogue. Norway will host an AHLC meeting on 16 and 17 November in Oslo. To address the deteriorating fiscal situation of the PA, and consider how to strengthen the Authority. The meeting will also provide an opportunity for the parties, the donors, and development partners to agree on concrete steps forward. On both on the economic; and the political aspects of Palestinian state-building.
The two-state solution is the only solution that will ensure long-term stability- which will benefit not only Israelis and Palestinians, but the region as a whole.