The efforts to resolve the conflict by establishing two states living side by side in peace and security remain in an impasse.
We must strive to safeguard two decades of investments in building the foundations for the two-state solution. The parties need to increase their efforts to make a two-state a reality.
We know what steps are required. All unilateral actions that undermine the political process and turns hope into confrontation must stop. Expansion and legalization of settlements must stop. Violence and incitement must stop.
Norway, as the Chair of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), the Donor Group for Palestine, sees some positive signs.
The AHLC-meeting in New York on 19 September was the most constructive meeting in years. The Palestinian Authority and Israel had reached an agreement on the electricity sector and important progress has been made this year on fiscal issues. The two parties agreed on key infrastructure projects in Gaza.
This way forward also warrants full cooperation from the donors. The Palestinian Authority will not be able to close the current financial gap by itself and continued budget support is needed, also to enable reform.
Norway is actively working with the parties and the donors to follow-up on the results from September. When the AHLC meet again in Brussels in the spring, we must make sure that the electricity-debt agreement has reached its implementation phase, and that the parties have made serious progress on water and energy.
The Palestinian Authority needs to reform and strengthen its political institutions and governance structures. The West Bank and Gaza needs to be reintegrated into one authority that fully respects the parameters of the security agreements between Israel and the PLO.
The situation in Gaza is of great concern. Developing Gaza in an effective manner must remain a top-priority. The Reconstruction must be accelerated. The volume of imported construction material, including cement, through the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism needs to be increased. The entry of construction materials through other channels is undermining the efforts to address dual use and security problems in Gaza.
The mandate and purpose of the AHLC is to underpin such efforts to realize the two-state solution. While progress on the economic files is no substitute for a political solution, the parties must continue their cooperation to advance the Palestinian institutions and economy in preparation for independence.