Thank you Special Coordinator Wennesland for your briefing. Let me also thank Commissioner General Lazzarini and Daniel Levy for your remarks and important contributions today.
First of all, I would like to acknowledge and thank the Special Coordinator and the UN for their efforts to establish a ceasefire following the latest hostilities in Gaza.
We would also like to highlight Egypt and Quatar’s critical role.
It is now essential that the ceasefire continues to be respected. And economic measures, and the easing of restrictions on access and movement, continue.
These escalations have consequences.
17 children were killed, and hundreds injured in Gaza during the hostilities earlier this month.
We condemn all indiscriminate attacks, and attacks against civilians.
All parties are obliged to protect civilians and fully respect international humanitarian law- including its principles of distinction, proportionality, and precaution.
Furthermore, Norway strongly condemns all acts of terror - including the attack on Israeli civilians in Jerusalem on August 14, where 8 people were injured.
Everyone –Israelis and Palestinians – deserve to live in security.
There is an urgent need for more long-term solutions, including a political horizon.
Turning to other relevant developments – we are deeply concerned about shrinking space for civil society, including the recent Israeli raids against several Palestinian Civil Society Organizations in area A in Ramallah.
And we are troubled by subsequent reports of threats against the employees of these organizations and their families.
Such actions are unacceptable.
These organisations carry out important work defending the human rights of Palestinians vis-à-vis both the Israeli and Palestinian authorities.
They must be allowed to continue to work in a safe and enabling environment.
Norway has clearly stated that the information Israel has provided does not sufficiently justify designating the organisations as ‘terror organisations’.
We will continue our support for Palestinian civil society.
A strong and vibrant civil society is key to promoting democracy, human rights in Palestine, and supporting the two-state solution.
Norway will convene the AHLC Ministerial Meeting (the donor group for Palestine) in the margins of the General Assembly on 22 September.
The aim of the AHLC is to help build the foundations for the Palestinian state.
Items on the AHLC agenda include: further strengthening the PA’s institutions and PA reform; increasing the PA’s revenues;
transferring more authority from Israel to the PA;
and easing restrictions on travel, trade, and economic activity both in the West Bank and Gaza.
This work must also include Palestinian leaders contributing to strengthening the legitimacy and accountability of the PA.
We urge the parties to use this opportunity, and step up their efforts to make progress in the
[As Commissioner General Lazzarini has outlined] UNRWA plays a key role in ensuring that the needs Palestine refugees are met, and that their rights are ensured.
The agency’s continued ability to serve this function also remains crucial for regional stability.
We are deeply concerned by the warnings of yet another financing crisis in the autumn- once again putting the agency’s service delivery at risk.
The recurrent budget crises have a detrimental effect on the agency, its staff, and the Palestine refugee population in general.
We call for renewed efforts to mobilise resources, to provide flexible financing, and to put the agency on a more stable financial footing.
In closing, let me repeat our call for increased efforts to prepare for negotiations towards a political settlement.
The two-state solution – based on the 1967 lines – is the only viable solution to ensure peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians.