Gaza crisis: Foreign Minister urges parties to enter into immediate ceasefire
Posted by African Press International on July 31, 2014
‘I urge the parties to the conflict in Gaza to call an immediate halt to the hostilities and engage in efforts to achieve a durable ceasefire, as called for by the Security Council. The suffering that is being inflicted on the civilian population is disproportionate and intolerable, and it must be stopped,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
The fighting has now lasted for 20 days, and during this time 1062 Palestinians have been killed, and around 6200 people have been injured in Gaza. In Israel, 43 soldiers and 3 civilians have been killed, and over 400 people have been injured.
‘The crisis cannot be resolved, nor the conflict won, by military means. Israel will not achieve peace and security by continuing its ground offensive. Nor will the firing of more rockets from Gaza into Israel give the Palestinians in Gaza a better life or dignity. There must be an end to the use of violence, and talks must begin, taking the ceasefire from 2012 as their starting point,’ said Mr Brende.
The call for a ceasefire has broad international support. It is essential that Egypt and the US have a central role in following up a ceasefire, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has an important role to play in the time ahead. It is vital that the Palestinian Authority (PA) exercises authority over the whole of Palestine. The peace negotiations must be resumed. Only a two-state solution can bring lasting peace.
‘Norway has committed itself to helping to find a political solution to the conflict, together with the rest of international community. We will invite representatives of the international community to a humanitarian donor conference in Oslo as soon as a durable ceasefire has been entered into. The huge scale of destruction, fear and suffering that we are seeing now serves no one,’ said Mr Brende.
Mr Brende emphasised that hospitals, places of refuge for those who have fled their homes, and humanitarian operations in Gaza must be protected, in accordance with international law. Personnel from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and from the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement have been killed or injured in the attacks on Gaza. Norway supports both of these organisations. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is engaged in ongoing dialogue with the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on how the protection of civilians taking shelter in schools and hospitals can be better ensured.