This meeting takes place on the backdrop of yesterdays Israeli military actions in Gaza.
The numbers are indisputable and shocking: 19 Palestinians were killed in Beit Hanoun alone – a majority of them women and children.
Our condolences go to those who lost their loved ones. Norway condemns this massive use of military force by the Israeli Defence Forces in their attempts to stop the firing of homemade rockets from Gaza.
Since June this year more than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives, many of them children.
Countless others have suffered injuries and are left homeless and traumatized. Along with the damaging effects of the Israeli military actions, the overall humanitarian situation in Gaza is becoming more and more critical; increasing the human suffering and undermining the prospects for peace.
Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jonas Gahr Støre, was in Gaza (Wednesday 8 November, and could see for himself the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation and the widespread destruction left behind by the recent Israeli campaign.
In Gaza Mr. Støre met with President Abbas. He also met with Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.
He brought a clear message: while Norway recognizes Israel’s right to defend herself and her citizens, we cannot accept military retaliations this disproportionate and contrary to international humanitarian law.
Actions such as yesterdays only serve to cultivate hatred and reinforce continued armed resistance. This is not the way to improve Israel's security. There is no military solution to this conflict and we urge Israel to end its incursions in Gaza.
It is also our long-standing position that the Palestinian leadership must bring an end to the firing of rockets into Israeli territory.
Such terror acts do not serve neither the Palestinian population nor the prospects for peace. We also urge the Palestinian leadership to provide for the safe return of the kidnapped Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit.
Norway supports the efforts of president Abbas to establish a national unity government reflecting the principles as set out by the Quartet.
We strongly encourage all parties and the international community to support these efforts.
The road to peace starts at the negotiating table. Only a process of negotiations can bring about a comprehensive settlement based on the Roadmap, the commitments from Sharm el-Sheikh and all relevant resolutions passed by this council.