Tale/innlegg | Dato: 21.09.2023 | Utenriksdepartementet
Utenriksminister Anniken Huitfeldts innlegg under møtet i den internasjonale givergruppen for Palestina (AHLC) i New York 20. september 2023.
Sjekkes mot fremføring
I am pleased to welcome you to this meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee.
At the very first meeting of the AHLC on 5 November 1993, the Chair and then Norwegian Foreign Minister described the committee’s two main goals as follows:
- One: to address the immediate and short-term needs of the Palestinian society; and
- Two: to secure the future of the Palestinian nation.
We must admit we are far away from those goals. We had hoped the work would be ad hoc and temporary. That it would last just a few years. But 30 years on there is still no final status agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.
However, we have made some progress. Palestinian institutions have been established and built. Including hospitals and on education, electricity, and water. There is a functioning Palestinian government that delivers services to the Palestinian people.
In 2011 the World Bank stated that Palestine was ready for statehood.
30 years after the Oslo Accords, time is about to run out for a two-state solution. We are further away from a Palestinian state today than we have been for a long time.
I hope we can use this meeting to discuss and consider actions that we, the international partners, Israel and the PA, can take. To improve the situation on the ground, and get closer to a political solution. Before I open the floor, I would like to make three points:
First: Norway believes that the two-state solution remains the best way to secure peace and security for both peoples. But time is about to run out. The situation is moving towards a one-state reality without equal rights for all. This is unacceptable. The only acceptable alternative is one state with equal rights for all.
Second: we cannot risk a collapse of the Palestinian institutions. That would be in no one’s interests.
We all have a duty to contribute: the Palestinian leadership must increase its legitimacy. With reforms and elections. Israel needs to refrain from actions that undermine the PA, and lift restrictions on the use of Area C and on Gaza. Israel has an obligation to facilitate for elections also in East Jerusalem. I believe more donors would step up if these steps were taken.
I urge all of us to support the PA. The sharp decline in budget aid in the past years has impeded the state-building project and needs to be reversed. The World Bank provides a reliable multi-donor platform for budget aid, supporting PA reform efforts. The package presented by the UN to this meeting offers important channels for immediate support to stabilizing the situation and improving people’s lives.
Third: the parties must continue to seek a political solution. The work of this group and economic assistance cannot replace that. Economic peace is not enough.
If there is no end to the occupation and no progress on the political front, any achievements will only have limited effect.
I am pleased that there is still some contact between the Israelis and the Palestinians at official level. This should be broadened and deepened. The parties should resume their meetings in the Joint Economic Committee, Joint Liaison Committee, AHLC working groups, trilateral groups and more, in order to solve problems. And also to build trust and invest in a future political process.
With these broad points in mind, I would now like to open the floor. We have distributed some questions to guide the discussion. To be forward looking and constructive, focused on what should be done. In the critical situation for Palestinian state building, we need to discuss how to renew and revitalise our efforts.
I will guide the discussion based on these questions and your interventions.
I look forward to a productive meeting.