Norway to increase support for the Palestinians

In response to the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza, the Norwegian Government has proposed to increase support for the Palestinian people by NOK 470 million. This will bring Norway’s total support to the Palestinians in 2023 to more than NOK 1.5 billion.

‘After nearly seven weeks of fighting, the humanitarian needs are enormous and will continue to increase into the winter. The hope is that a pause in hostilities will make it possible to provide more humanitarian assistance. Norway is proposing an additional allocation of NOK 370 million to provide food, water, medicines, protection and other lifesaving assistance to the people of Gaza,’ said Minster of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim.

The funding comes in addition to the NOK 200 million allocated for relief efforts in Gaza following 7 October.

Of a total population of 2.2 million, some 1.7 million Palestinians are now internally displaced in Gaza. UN shelters, schools, and even warehouses are overflowing with people who have lost everything. Infectious diseases and diarrhoea are rapidly spreading and are affecting tens of thousands of people, particularly children. Heavy rains have further exacerbated the situation.

In connection with the announced ceasefire, permission has been granted for 300 lorries carrying emergency aid to enter Gaza every day. This is a positive step but is still far below the level of goods and aid delivered before 7 October. The World Food Programme has warned of the danger of widespread hunger as a result of the collapse of food production and distribution systems.

‘The food shortage in Gaza is dire, and food assistance is urgently needed to prevent hunger. I am particularly concerned about the youngest children who may suffer permanent damage from malnutrition over time. The extra support includes response to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s appeal by providing NOK 30 million for food security efforts in Gaza,’ said Ms Tvinnereim.

The additional funds will be channelled through Norway’s partners on the ground in Gaza, or via their partners. The funds will be allocated to the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Norwegian humanitarian organisations.

Norway is continuing its diplomatic efforts to ensure the immediate provision of far more aid to Gaza.

‘We have been urging Israel to reopen the Kerem Shalom border crossing for several weeks now. The temporary ceasefire provides a good opportunity to open the border crossing to deliver as much aid as possible to civilians while hostilities are suspended,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

Support for the Palestinian Authority

‘The war in Gaza is also having serious ramifications in the West Bank and for the Palestinian Authority (PA). This gives cause for great concern. The Norwegian Government is therefore proposing to increase its budget support by NOK 100 million, bringing Norway’s total support for 2023 up to NOK 285 million. The funds will help to ensure the Palestinian Authority’s ability to deliver critical services to the population,’ said Mr Eide.

There has been a sharp rise in settler violence and forced displacement of Palestinians in the West Bank. The impacts on the Palestinian economy have been severe. Among other things, Palestinians from the West Bank have lost their permits to work in Israel and Israel has made additional cuts to the transfer of clearance revenues to the PA. Norway has protested against these policies. It has now become extremely difficult to provide health care, education and other critical services in both the West Bank and Gaza.

‘As chair of the international donor group for Palestine, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), our clear message to the international community, including Israel, is that in this situation we must focus on strengthening the Palestinian Authority, not weakening it. It is crucial that the Palestinian Authority maintains its ability to fulfil the needs of Palestinians throughout Palestine, i.e. in the West Bank and in Gaza. This is essential both to address the situation in the short term, and to be able to achieve a peaceful solution in the future,’ said Mr Eide.

Source: MFA