Given a full blockade by Israel, closed border crossings, and continued Israeli attacks, I fear that the civilian population in Gaza will face even greater hardship in the days to come, says Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt.
ATHENS — The total blockade of Gaza is unacceptable, the Norwegian foreign minister said.
“The establishment of a full blockade, including on access to electricity, water, food, and other goods that are indispensable for the survival of the civilian population in Gaza, is unacceptable,” said Anniken Huitfeldt in a statement on Thursday.
Israel has the right to defend itself against armed attacks, but all self-defence measures must be necessary and proportionate, as required by international law, she added.
“The scale of destruction in Gaza is enormous. A large number of civilians have been killed. Given a full blockade by Israel, closed border crossings, and continued Israeli attacks, I fear that the civilian population in Gaza will face even greater hardship in the days to come,” Huitfeldt said.
Furthermore, she warned that if the international community suspends or decreases assistance to Gaza, the situation would only worsen.
“Functioning Palestinian institutions and the delivery of basic services are crucial to avoid further destabilisation and preserve the objective of the two-state solution.”
She said: “I support any efforts aimed at preventing a further deterioration of the situation. There is no military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The only way to achieve peace is to restart a political process between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”
Israeli forces launched a sustained and forceful military campaign against the Gaza Strip, a response to a military offensive by the Palestinian group Hamas in Israeli territories.
The conflict began last Saturday when Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood against Israel, a multi-pronged surprise attack including a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel via land, sea, and air.
Hamas said the operation was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem and Israeli settlers’ growing violence against Palestinians.
The Israeli military then launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets within the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s response has extended into cutting water and electricity supplies to Gaza, further worsening the living conditions in an area that has reeled under a crippling siege since 2007. — Agencies
Photo: Palestinians look at the destruction of a house in the aftermath of an Israeli strike in southern Gaza Strip’s Khan Younis.