First, let me take this opportunity to express my condolences to the Palestine Liberation Organization, and to the Palestinian Authority for the passing of Dr. Saeb Erekat.
Saeb was a committed defender of the two-state solution, as well as of dialogue and negotiations.
Now, turning to the Question of Palestine, it remains Norway's firm position that only a negotiated two-state solution based on the internationally agreed parameters can lead to durable peace.
This position will continue to be the basis for us as Chair of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee- the AHLC- as well as our membership in the Security Council.
In light of the existing challenges to the realization of the two-state solution, we warmly welcome the recent resumption of cooperation between the Israelis and Palestinians.
It creates a momentum, which should be capitalized on to resolve other outstanding issues.
We call on the parties to find common solutions to urgent challenges on the ground in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The parties should also renew the dialogue on fiscal issues aiming at increased and predictable income for the Palestinian Authority.
We urge the parties to take steps to resume final status negotiations.
Norway stands ready to support all efforts at constructive political dialogue and peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
We also welcome the normalization processes between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.
We encourage these countries- and others in the region- to use these achievements to contribute to a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The pandemic has further aggravated the living conditions in Palestine.
The Palestinian Authority’s financial situation continues to be very vulnerable.
As Chair of the AHLC, Norway is doing its utmost to mobilize resources to help Palestinians in need. And to address challenges in the health sector exacerbated by the pandemic.
The alarming increase of COVID-19 cases in Gaza is of particular concern.
The pandemic has further underscored the critical role of UNRWA, which- in face of the most severe financial crisis in its history- continues to support basic needs of millions of Palestinian refugees experiencing deepening poverty, and dependence on international aid.
It is important that the donors deliver on their commitments.
Earlier today, Norway brought attention to these issues at a local meeting in Ramallah between the Palestinian Authority and donors, co-chaired with the Palestinian Prime Minister.
We will continue our efforts in the period leading up to the next AHLC meeting in February 2021.
We are concerned about several developments on the ground, including the announced plans for expanding Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The settlement activity is illegal under international law and a significant impediment to a viable two-state solution.
We are also concerned about the increase in house demolitions.
These activities aggravate humanitarian needs and leads to polarization and potential violence. They should be halted.
Furthermore, we call on Israel to make the current suspension of annexation plans permanent.
Norway welcomes efforts at streamlining the resolutions under agenda item 52, and we encourage the continuation of these efforts.
To conclude, I repeat our call to the parties to commit to a meaningful dialogue and to resume negotiations based on existing agreements, and relevant UN resolutions.
We encourage all supporters of the two-state solution to help bring the parties back to a path towards a lasting, viable, agreement.