Norway co-sponsored and voted in favor of the GA resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. We deeply regret that the Security Council did not pass the draft resolution on 8 December.
More than nine weeks of hostilities between Hamas and Israel have led to a level of human suffering that has shocked the world. The heinous terrorist attack by Hamas started this terrible crisis. Norway has condemned the attack and been clear about Israel’s right to self-defense, within the limitations of international law.
We have emphasized that both parties have an obligation to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure. The hostages must be released immediately and unconditionally.
Israel's current military operation in Gaza, is not compatible with the protection of civilians required by international humanitarian law. It has gone too far.
We are shocked by the level of destruction and death caused by the ensuing war in Gaza. A humanitarian ceasefire must be declared as soon as possible. Civilians must be protected. Humanitarian aid must reach those in need immediately. The parties to the conflict must ensure that sufficient humanitarian aid is brought into Gaza. This is a responsibility that clearly falls on the parties to an armed conflict under humanitarian law.
We commend the UN and UNRWA for their important role and their heroic effort to get aid to the population, at great personal risk, while their own families are struggling to find food, water and safety.
Norway fully supports the Secretary General’s invocation of Article 99 of the UN Charter. This sends an unprecedented strong message to the international community that we must do everything in our power to prevent further escalation and a humanitarian catastrophe. The impending risk of collapse of the humanitarian system entails potentially irreversible and devastating implications for peace and security in the entire region.
Regional spillover of the war is a real risk. We condemn all military acts that threaten regional stability, including attacks by the Houthis against civilian ships in the Red Sea. We encourage all to deescalate.
The desperate situation in Gaza must not divert attention away from the critical situation in the West Bank. The risk of a collapse of governance structures there is clear and present. All must contribute to prevent such a scenario, which could be catastrophic and totally undermine the Palestinian Authority. In particular, Israel must transfer clearance revenues to the Palestinian Authority according to their obligations, remove movement restrictions and stop settler violence and other transgressions against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Two months ago, Norway warned against the consequences of a near full blockade for Gaza's civilian population. Since then, the situation has become nearly untenable.
An immediate humanitarian ceasefire is therefore urgently needed.