Norway urges Israel not to annex parts of the occupied West Bank

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Norway, which chairs a group of international donors to the Palestinians, urged Israel on Tuesday not to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

Norway heads the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), which met on Tuesday to discuss Israel’s plan to extend its sovereignty to Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the West Bank, occupied territory that Palestinians seek for a state.

“Any unilateral step would be detrimental to the (peace) process, and annexation would be in direct violation and contravention of international law,” Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide told Reuters after the meeting.

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Norway helped to broker the 1993 and 1995 Oslo Accords, which provided for interim and limited Palestinian self-rule in the occupied territories, and initiated a now-moribund long-term peace process.

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Soereide said she had spoken on Tuesday with her Israeli counterpart, GabiAshkenazi, to urge Israel to resume direct talks with the Palestinians and avoid unilateral moves.

“It would undermine the potential for a two-state solution,” she said.

The AHLC meeting also urged donors to fulfil their financial commitments to the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations’ Palestinian aid agency to help fight the spread of the new coronavirus.

West Bank health authorities reported 388 cases of coronavirus with two deaths as of Monday, while in Gaza, 61 cases and one death were registered.

Soereide praised cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians on the issue, as well as between the Palestinians and the United Nations, but cautioned that a lack of testing meant the numbers could be higher.

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