Norway plans to quadruple aid to Palestine as famine looms

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The Norwegian government Tuesday proposed 1 billion kroner ($92.5 million) in aid to Palestinians this year as humanitarian agencies warn of a looming famine in the Gaza Strip.

Figures in the revised budget presented on Tuesday, show a roughly quadrupling of the 258 million kroner provided in the initial finance bill adopted last year.

“The urgent need of aid in Gaza is enormous after seven months of war,” Norway’s Minister of International Development, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, said in a statement.

“The food situation in particular is critical and there is a risk of famine,” she added, criticizing “an entirely man-made crisis” and an equally “critical” situation in the West Bank.

For the latest updates on the Israel-Palestine conflict, visit our dedicated page.

According to the draft budget, Norway intends to dedicate 0.98 percent of its gross national income to development aid this year.

The figures are still subject to change because the center-left government, a minority in parliament, has to negotiate with other parties to get the texts adopted.

For his part, Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide again warned Israel against a large-scale military operation in Rafah, a city on the southern edge of the besieged Gaza Strip.

“It would be catastrophic for the population. Providing life-saving humanitarian support would become much more difficult and more dangerous,” Barth Eide said.

He added: “The more than 1 million who have sought refuge in Rafah have already fled multiple times from famine, death and horror. They are now being told to move again, but no place in Gaza is safe.”

As part of the response to the unprecedented Hamas attack on Israeli soil on October 7, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he is determined to launch an operation in Rafah, which he considers to be the last major stronghold of the militant organization.

Many in Rafah have been displaced multiple times during the war, and are now heading back north after Israeli forces called for the evacuation of the city’s eastern past.

On May 7, Israeli tanks and troops entered the city’s east sending desperate Palestinians to flee north.

According to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), “almost 450,000” people have been displaced from Rafah since May 6.

Read more:

Rafah offensive would lead to ‘humanitarian disaster’: UN chief

Israeli spokesperson denies reports of ‘full blown famine’ in Gaza

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