Norway urges Israel to stop plans for forced relocation and demolition in West Bank

‘Norway calls on Israel to stop the plans for forced relocation of the residents and demolition of the Palestinian village of Susiya in the West Bank. This is a very negative development, which in addition to uprooting the Palestinian villagers will make it much more difficult to rekindle the peace process,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

In June, the approximately 350 residents of the Palestinian village of Susiya in the southern West Bank were informed by Israeli authorities that their village had been built illegally, and would be demolished. Norway’s resident representative in Palestine will take part in a UN-led delegation to Susiya on Thursday to assess the situation.

‘Norway’s position on Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory and its settlement policy is well known to the Israeli Government, and I regularly raise this matter in my talks with Israeli politicians. As chair of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee donor group for Palestine, Norway frequently consults with the US, the EU and the parties to the conflict to discuss steps that can be taken to benefit both Israel and Palestine. We will do so in this case as well,’ said Mr Brende.

Aligning itself with the response from the US and the EU, Norway urges Israel to stop its plans to forcefully relocate civilians and demolish Palestinian housing and infrastructure in Susiya and Abu Nwar. Foreign Minister Brende emphasises that Norway, together with its partners in the international community, believes that a two-state solution is in the best interests of both the Israelis and the Palestinians. Actions that undermine mutual respect, confidence and understanding will impede efforts to establish an independent Palestinian state.

More than 400 000 Israelis now live in the occupied West Bank and in the Golan Heights. The Norwegian Government considers the Israeli settlements on occupied territory to be in violation of international law. This position is supported by a number of UN Security Council resolutions, including resolutions 465 and 471, and declarations by the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Norway has committed itself not to implement measures in support of illegal Israeli settlements, and to discourage activities that support such settlements.

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