Press release | Date: 2012-11-16
“The escalation of the violence is worrying, and any further escalation could have grave consequences. A great responsibility now rests on all parties to bring an end to the hostilities as quickly as possible,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.
“We are deeply concerned about the reports of growing numbers of civilians killed and injured in Gaza and southern Israel following the acts of violence in recent days. The escalation of the violence is worrying, and any further escalation could have grave consequences. A great responsibility now rests on all parties to bring an end to the hostilities as quickly as possible,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.
“We call on the Israeli authorities to act responsibly. While we recognise Israel’s right to self-defence, as a state it is also obliged under international law to limit its military reprisals to what can be considered acts of self-defence, and not to carry out collective punishment. Moreover, the distinction between combatants and non-combatants must be respected, so that the loss of civilian lives is avoided. The disproportionate use of force, beyond self-defence, is unacceptable. Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, and the risk of innocent lives being lost or civilians being injured is great,” Mr Eide said.
“Once again, we would like to make plain that the rocket attacks on Israel are totally unacceptable and must be stopped immediately,” the Foreign Minister said.
In addition to the civilian casualties, there are also reports of substantial material damage.
“The events of the last few days once again go to show that the policy of occupation has served to strengthen militant Palestinian groups. It is therefore essential that negotiations are resumed on a two-state solution that allows Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side in peace and security,” Mr Eide said.
“It is also crucial that progress is achieved in the Palestinian reconciliation process, which aims to unite the Palestinian people under one leadership. The Palestinian Authority cannot be held responsible for what is currently happening in Gaza. Norway has today contacted the parties through its channels, and has urged them to bring an immediate end to the hostilities and to enter into a lasting ceasefire,” Mr Eide said.