Scandinavian countries condemn Israel's disproportionate violence, sends millions to aid Palestinians25/07/2014 03:38
Denmark, Finland and Norway are backing the Palestinian people in Gaza with substantial medical aid. As the first two countries in the world to have an official diplomatic Palestinian representative, Denmark and Finland followed the EU position of condemning Israeli attacks on innocent Gazans.
This week, Denmark is to send $2 million to protect and support Gaza with humanitarian aid. Following the escalating conflict and worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza, the Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation Mogens Jensen sent contributions for water distribution, medicines and for the protection of civilians in Gaza, the Danish mission in Ramallah announced.
"The spiral of violence between Gaza and Israel has unbearable costs for completely innocent people. Almost half of the population in Gaza need access to clean water, and hospitals and humanitarian organisations need medicine to treat the wounded and save lives. Therefore, I find it crucial and right, that Denmark contributes to the humanitarian efforts in Gaza," he said.
MEMO spoke to a spokesperson for the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Julia Winding who explained that the Danish contribution is distributed equally between the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the UN's Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA), the latter having neared its last resources. The UN has asked the international community to intervene.
Mogens Jensen continued: "We contribute to ambulances, medicine, psychosocial help and water reserves for the population in Gaza. With this contribution we give room for humanism and solidarity with the innocent victims."
UN Strategic Response Plan 2014 for the Occupied Palestinian Territories requested $394 million to continue with its operations, to date, $170,686,572 has been collected. However, only 30 per cent of the funds needed for projects in Gaza have been received, the UN said. They identified particular needs in areas such as education, water sanitation and health.
The Finnish position is aligned with those of the EU. MEMO spoke to Counsellor for MENA in Finnish Foreign Ministry who explained that the EU's "extreme concern" has led to it calling "for an immediate cessation of the hostilities based on a return to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement." The EU has welcomed the ongoing efforts by regional partners, and in particular by Egypt, and reiterated its readiness to provide the necessary support to this end.
The Finnish contributed €850 000 to the UNRWA appeal for Gaza, it was announced last week. According to International Development Minister Pekka Haavisto the assistance will be directed toward Palestinians who've lost their homes or fled for fear of aerial bombardments.
Recently, the EU urged Israel and the Palestinians to resolve the conflict through a mutual agreement. "The only way to resolve the conflict is through an agreement that ends the occupation which began in 1967, that ends all claims and that fulfils the aspirations of both parties. A one state reality would not be compatible with these aspirations," the EU announced following a Foreign Affairs Council meeting.