Thank you Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland for your briefing.
I also want to thank Gidon Bromberg and Nada Majdalani from EcoPeace for being here today. Your climate and security work is a good example of how important it is to support regional and local peacebuilding and trust building initiatives, and how addressing shared problems can be a possible entry point for finding common ground.
Norway’s unwavering support for a negotiated two-state solution remains unchanged. At present, this goal seems distant. Conflict and tensions are running high. In 2022, we must steer the situation onto a better track.
First, the violence and acts of terrorism must be stopped. All civilians must be protected in accordance with international humanitarian law. Human rights must be respected. Human rights defenders must be protected. A vibrant civil society in Palestine is crucial.
Second, Israel must cease settlement building, demolitions, and evictions. The settlements on occupied land are illegal under international law. They undermine the prospects of a two-state solution and they escalate the conflict. Last night, another Palestinian family was evicted from their home in East Jerusalem. This must stop. Furthermore, the historic status quo on the Holy Sites in Jerusalem must be respected.
Third, a strong Palestinian Authority is needed. I call on Israel to revise policies and actions that weaken the Palestinian Authority and the economy. The donor group that Norway chairs – has outlined a programme for continued Palestinian state-building. We must implement it. I call on the Palestinian Authority to strengthen its democratic legitimacy among its people. I call on the factions to revive efforts to achieve unity in Palestine. We, the international community, must support and do our part. We should cooperate with any Palestinian government that rejects the use of violence and adheres to previous agreements made by the PLO.
Fourth, the situation for the people in Gaza must be improved. I welcome Israel’s willingness to adjust its policies, including increasing movement and trade. I call for long-term solutions, and for ceasefire and calm. People on both sides will benefit. They want to live in security. UN agencies, especially UNRWA, are the international community’s main instruments in Gaza. We must ensure that UNRWA can continue to meet the critical needs of Palestine refugees.
Fifth, I welcome the normalisation of relations between Israel and several Arab states.
It is essential that the Palestinians are also involved and benefit from this process. Meaningful progress in the negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians would reinforce the process of normalisation, and promote stability in the region.
Sixth, resuming negotiations is a matter of urgency. The issue of borders and territory must be resolved before it is too late. I urge the parties to explore how they can resume talks. Even if they are not ready to start yet. Agreed, immediate steps in the right direction would help steer the situation onto a better track.
In closing, I would like to remind us all that parameters for the two-state solution have been established by this Council, most recently in resolution 2334. We continue to support a return to negotiations based on the 1967 lines, relevant Security Council resolutions, international law, and internationally agreed parameters.
I thank you.