The Question of Palestine was first brought before the General Assembly almost exactly 75 years ago to the day. In resolution 181, the Assembly called for the partition of the territory into two states.
Today, the Middle East is changing, but sadly the challenges to the realization of the two-state solution remain. The tense situation in the West Bank is in many ways a symptom of the lack of a political horizon, but also of fundamental rights.
The stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process is not only negatively impacting the people who live there- and pay the highest price for lack of a political solution- but the whole region.
Norway continues to believe that a negotiated two-state solution based on the internationally agreed parameters is the best way to achieve lasting peace, and ensure the rights and safety of both Israelis and Palestinians.
This is also the basis for our Chairmanship of the AHLC- the donor group to support Palestinian institution building and to lay the practical foundation for a Palestinian state. And, it underpins our membership in the Security Council and the UN more broadly.
New and reinforced measures are needed to reduce tensions on the ground, particularly in the West Bank- including East-Jerusalem- to stabilise the volatile ceasefire in Gaza, and to strengthen the Palestinian Authority.
We have repeatedly expressed our deep concern for the continuing expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. And we are concerned that house demolitions and evictions continue apace.
Furthermore, violence perpetrated by settlers against Palestinians has reached an unprecedented scale.
Let there be no doubt, the Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, and are a significant impediment to a viable two-state solution. We call upon the incoming Israeli government to reverse the negative trends we have witnessed over the last years.
Moreover, Israel must revise policies and actions that weaken the PA and the Palestinian economy, and engage with the Palestinian leadership.
We urge respect for international law, and signed agreements.
De-escalation and cooperation is key.
Palestinians deserve democracy and rule of law, with security, equal rights, and opportunities for all.
A strong Palestinian Authority – which enjoys popular legitimacy and represents all of Palestine – is vital. The absence of regular national elections weakens the legitimacy of the PA.
We urge the Palestinian leadership to continue to implement planned reforms. The PA should follow up on decisions which may be unpopular in the short term, but will benefit the Palestinian economy and consolidate the institutions in the long term.
Norway also urges Palestinian factions to redouble efforts to reconcile, and achieve political and administrative unity.
We see that changes in the region create new opportunities. We appeal to the countries that have improved their relations with Israel, to ensure that this newfound cooperation also involves, and benefits, the Palestinian people.
Furthermore, Norway is concerned by the reduction in foreign assistance to the Palestinians. Including to the PA, and UNRWA’s persistent, and critical, lack of adequate financing.
There is no alternative to UNRWA in ensuring that the rights and essential needs of the Palestine refugees are met.
To conclude, I would like to repeat Norway’s own commitment to the two-state solution. We call on the parties to commit to a meaningful dialogue, and to take concrete action on the basis of 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 agreement.
Norway stands ready to support all constructive efforts.