Unacceptable consequences for the civilian population
‘The dramatic escalation of the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians is having completely unacceptable consequences for civilians. In my talks with Foreign Minister Lieberman and President Abbas, I have urged all parties to stop the attacks and resume efforts to bring about a political solution,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
A large number of Palestinians, many of them children, have been killed or wounded in the Gaza Strip since the massive Israeli military operation was launched on Monday evening. The situation in Gaza is now extremely critical following hundreds of air strikes, and many homes have been destroyed. There are also reports of direct attacks on journalists. During the past few days, several hundred rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel, fortunately without loss of life so far.
‘Norway condemns the rocket attacks on Israel, which threaten civilians indiscriminately. Israel has the right to defend itself within the framework of international law. However, international humanitarian law sets out stringent rules on the protection of civilians in situations of armed conflict. One of these rules is that the parties involved are to actively take precautions to avoid civilian losses. I emphasised this point in my conversation with Israel’s foreign minister. As the strongest military power in the conflict, Israel has a particular responsibility here,’ said Mr Brende.
‘There is no alternative to a political solution to the conflict. The first step must be a ceasefire. Restrictions must be lifted so that it is possible for the people of Gaza to live normal lives. But only a final agreement on a two-state solution and an end to the occupation of the West Bank can create lasting peace,’ said Foreign Minister Brende.