Norway’s Increased Support for Palestinians: A Compassionate Response to Humanitarian Crisis

In a compassionate response to the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, the Norwegian Government has proposed an additional NOK 470 million in support for the Palestinian people. This move brings Norway’s total assistance to the Palestinians in 2023 to over NOK 1.5 billion, highlighting a commitment to alleviate the suffering caused by the recent conflict.

The announcement, made by Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, comes after nearly seven weeks of intense fighting, leaving Gaza in a state of catastrophe. The escalating humanitarian needs are expected to persist into the winter, prompting Norway to allocate NOK 370 million for critical aid, including food, water, medicines, and protection. This support is a crucial lifeline for the 1.7 million internally displaced Palestinians in Gaza, where UN shelters, schools, and warehouses are overwhelmed with people who have lost everything.

Following a ceasefire agreement, 300 lorries carrying emergency aid have been granted permission to enter Gaza daily. While this development is positive, it falls short of pre-conflict aid levels. The World Food Programme has raised concerns about the looming danger of widespread hunger due to the collapse of food production and distribution systems.

Minister Tvinnereim emphasized the urgency of addressing the food shortage, particularly for children at risk of malnutrition. The additional funding includes a NOK 30 million contribution to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s appeal for food security efforts in Gaza. This allocation underscores Norway’s commitment to tackling immediate needs and laying the groundwork for sustainable recovery.

The funds will be channelled through Norway’s established international partners, including the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and Norwegian humanitarian organizations. This collaborative approach ensures efficient and targeted assistance where it is needed most.

Simultaneously, Norway is actively engaging in diplomatic efforts to facilitate the immediate delivery of aid to Gaza. Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide urged Israel to reopen the Kerem Shalom border crossing during the temporary ceasefire, providing a crucial window to deliver aid to needy civilians.

Recognizing the broader impact of the conflict, the Norwegian Government is extending its support to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank. The proposed increase of NOK 100 million in budget support, totalling NOK 285 million for 2023, reflects Norway’s concern for the serious ramifications faced by the PA. Settler violence and forced displacement of Palestinians have surged in the West Bank, severely affecting the Palestinian economy.

Mr. Eide highlighted the importance of strengthening the Palestinian Authority during these challenging times. As the chair of the international donor group for Palestine, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), Norway’s clear message to the international community, including Israel, is to focus on bolstering the PA rather than weakening it. The ability of the Palestinian Authority to deliver critical services, including healthcare and education, is essential for both short-term relief and the pursuit of a peaceful solution. As the international community rallies to provide aid, Norway stands in solidarity with the people of Palestine.