Norway to significantly increase aid to Palestinians amid looming famine

6 days ago
Norway to significantly increase aid to Palestinians amid looming famine

The Norwegian government has announced a generous proposal of 1 billion kroner ($92.5 million) in aid to Palestinians for the year ahead. This comes at a crucial time as humanitarian agencies raise alarms about the imminent threat of famine in the Gaza Strip.

In the budget revision revealed on Tuesday, it is evident that the initial allocation of 258 million kroner from last year’s finance bill has ballooned to nearly four times that amount.

Norway’s Minister of International Development, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, emphasized the pressing demand for aid in Gaza following seven months of conflict.

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

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 centre-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.

“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,” he added.

Israeli 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 Palestinian group Hamas.

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. But even in northern Gaza, the civilian death toll continues to climb as a result of Israeli airstrikes.

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.