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Source: Norway
4 July 2014

Press release

Foreign Minister warns against further escalation of violence in the Middle East

‘The events of the last few days clearly show how quickly the current tense situation could spiral out of control. I urge both the Israelis and the Palestinians to exercise restraint. It is important to seize upon the initiative for a ceasefire, which now appears to be coming from the Palestinians. Israel, as the strongest party, has a particular responsibility to show restraint and to ensure that no more lives are lost,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

There has been a dramatic escalation of the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians following the recent kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers. Israeli security forces have carried out extensive military actions in the West Bank. Some 10 Palestinians have been killed, several hundred Palestinians have been arrested and buildings have been blown up. The kidnapping and murder of a Palestinian teenager has heightened tensions further. Palestinian groups in Gaza have fired rockets at southern parts of Israel, and Israeli security forces have carried out multiple air strikes on targets in Gaza.

‘I condemn the acts of violence against civilians in the strongest terms. The rockets from Gaza and the Israeli air strikes must stop immediately. It is also vital that those responsible for the murders of one Palestinian teenager and three Israeli teenagers are arrested and brought to justice in a manner worthy of a state governed by the rule of law,’ Mr Brende said.

‘As the occupying power in the West Bank, Israel has a special responsibility under international law. Neither statements of its intent to step up its settlement policy in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which is in violation of international law, nor major offensives against Gaza are the way forward,’ Mr Brende said.

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Ragnhild Imerslund Web-editor: Johan T. Jensen

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