Thank you to Special Coordinator Wennesland for your remarks.
It is clear from the Secretary-General’s report that resolution 2334 is not being implemented. Settlement building, demolitions, and evictions have continued since 2016.
We are especially concerned about plans to demolish several villages in the Masafer Yatta area. And, as we have heard from OCHA, Israel has already started military training in the area. The inhabitants are vulnerable, and have lived there for generations. If these plans are carried out, the humanitarian consequences will be dire. 1,200 residents, including over 500 children, will lose everything – their homes, schools, and access to water.
Let me reiterate that all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition of the occupied areas are in violation of international humanitarian law. We therefore urge Israel to refrain from carrying out this plan. Furthermore, we repeat our call on the Israeli authorities to halt all settlement expansions, evictions, and demolitions. We underscore that all civilians, including children must be protected. Everyone has the right to live in security.
Let me also highlight the high number of Palestinian civilians killed this year. Of the 48 Palestinians killed from January to May, 14 were children. This situation is untenable and cannot continue. Security forces must act proportionally, and in line with international law. There have also been several terror attacks, killing ten Israeli and three foreign civilians. Let me reiterate Norway’s condemnation of all forms of terrorism.
We also condemn rockets and attacks from Gaza towards Israel. We recognise Israel's need to defend itself against such attacks, while underlining that any measures taken must comply with international law.
Now turning to UNRWA.
The funding crisis in the organization, as well as increased food prices globally, has the potential for dramatic consequences, including for regional stability. UNRWA plays a critical role in promoting the rights, and serving the essential needs, of the Palestine refugees. We urge donors to increase their contributions. And we support increased cooperation with other organizations within the limits of UNRWA’s mandate.
Norway remains deeply concerned also by the Palestinian Authority’s ongoing financial crisis. And we are committed to working with the parties to move the PA onto a firmer fiscal footing. We encourage the parties, and development partners, to implement all commitments made during the meeting of the AHLC in Brussels in May. We welcome also the recent expansions of the approved quota for Palestinians, both from Gaza, and the West Bank, to enter Israel for work.
Let me conclude by reiterating Norway’s commitment to the two-state solution – where Israelis and Palestinians live side by side, in peace and prosperity. This is the only viable solution to secure the rights and safety of both peoples.
Norway will continue to work towards this goal.