Statement held by Ambassador Steffen Kongstad
Norway warmly welcomes the delegation of Israel. Israel’s important decision to participate in their UPR underlines the strength, legitimacy and universality of the UPR mechanism.
Norway recognizes Israel’s continued interaction with UN Human Rights treaty bodies since its last UPR. In this regard, we welcome Israel’s ratification of the CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) in 2012.
The UN Security Council has confirmed the applicability of the 4th Geneva Convention to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, in a number of resolutions, and called upon Israel to comply with the provisions of the Convention and to accept its applicability.
Norway is concerned by the continued acts of violence carried out by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and Palestinian property in the West Bank. The Palestinians’ right of peaceful protest is also being denied. Norway recommends that Israel takes measures to provide for the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilian population and adhere to international standards on juvenile detention.
The living conditions in East Jerusalem are difficult. A majority of East Jerusalem residents, including most of the children, live below the poverty line. An estimated 90,000 Jerusalem residents with Israeli IDs are cut off from most parts of the city, and need to pass through checkpoints on a daily basis in order to work, attend school, obtain medical services and visit their families. Norway recommends that Israel stops the revocation of permanent residency status of Palestinians in East Jerusalem and that Israel provides adequate resources for the development of services and infrastructure, including the creation of new schools.
Finally, we are aware that the Knesset is discussing a proposal to remove Arabic as an official language, and there are other indications that the rights of Arab Israeli citizens are under pressure. Norway recommends that Israel intensify efforts to advance the rights of the Arab minority population in Israel.
- High numbers of refugees and asylum seekers have been coming from Africa to Israel the last years. After the construction of a fence along Israel's southern border was completed at the end of 2012, the number of migrants has substantially decreased. What measures is Israel taking to safeguard the rights of the individual refugees and asylum seekers who currently live in Israel and to protect them from racism and incitement?
- Israeli human rights organizations report that outdated, partial or non-existent master plans for certain cities in Israel systematically discriminate the Arab minority and are infringing on their human rights. What is Israel doing to improve and advance master plans in the non-Jewish sectors?
- As the occupying power in the West Bank, Israel has the duty to safeguard the daily life and wellbeing of the Palestinian civilians living under occupation, including in Area C. What is Israel doing to develop Palestinian villages and cities in the Area C?