[Tribune] Why Norway recognized the State of Palestine by Jonas Gahr Støre, Prime Minister of Norway – Telquel.ma

MOn May 28, Norway recognized the State of Palestine, emphasizing that Palestinians have a fundamental and independent right to self-determination and that Israelis and Palestinians have the right to live in peace and security in their respective states.

Norway has always been convinced that there would be no peace in the Middle East without a two-state solution. And there cannot be a two-state solution without a Palestinian state. In other words, a Palestinian state is a prerequisite for lasting peace in the Middle East.

“Since the Oslo Accords thirty years ago, the global consensus has been that recognition should follow a peace agreement. However, we all see today that this approach is untenable”

Jonas Gahr Støre, Prime Minister of Norway

Since the Oslo Accords thirty years ago, the global consensus has been that recognition should follow a peace agreement. However, we all see today that this approach has proven untenable. We can no longer wait until the conflict in the Middle East is resolved first.

In the absence of a peace process and a political solution to the conflict, daily life has only gotten worse. Neither Palestinians nor Israelis have lived in security and peace. Terrorism and violence by Hamas and other militant groups have undermined the trust that is essential to achieving lasting peace, while Israel’s illegal settlements have undermined the territorial basis for a viable Palestinian state.

Today we are faced with the horrific terrorist attack perpetrated against innocent Israeli civilians on October 7. Norway condemned this attack in the strongest possible terms. We demanded that the hostages be released immediately. We have made it clear that Israel has the right to defend itself under international law. The terrorist attack was carried out by Hamas, which does not support a two-state solution nor does it recognize Israel.

“The war we have witnessed over the past six months has left Gaza in ruins, with tens of thousands dead and injured, and what we have seen in Rafah over the past few days is appalling”

Jonas Gahr Støre, Prime Minister of Norway

I am firmly convinced that the recognition of Palestine as a state can help strengthen the moderate forces on the Palestinian side. Those who work peacefully towards the realization of a two-state solution – one state operating in accordance with international law, including the United Nations Charter and relevant UN resolutions. This can also help strengthen moderate forces on the Israeli side. The alternative is what we see today, namely, that those who advocate and practice violence and insecurity dominate the agenda. They bring no hope for the future.

The war we have witnessed over the past six months has left Gaza in ruins, with tens of thousands dead and injured, and what we have seen in Rafah over the past few days is appalling. The security of Israelis and Palestinians has been further compromised and the stability of the entire Middle East is threatened.

Norway believes that there are many reasons why it is important and useful to officially recognize Palestine today.

First of all, the ongoing war in Gaza has shown very clearly that the establishment of peace and stability requires the resolution of the Palestinian question. With this war, the negative and prolonged development of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict reaches its climax. The war has led to increased unrest in the West Bank and growing tensions between countries in the region. The situation in the Middle East has not been this serious for many years.

Second, a growing number of countries now see the need to strengthen the political voice of the Palestinian people at the international level. At the United Nations General Assembly on May 10, no less than 143 countries voted in favor of a resolution supporting Palestine’s membership in the UN.

Third, by recognizing a Palestinian state today, we support the Arab peace plan on which the main actors in the region are working. Two decisive aspects of this plan are the creation of a Palestinian state and the normalization of relations between Arab countries and Israel – which includes recognition of the State of Israel. Norway is now cooperating closely with Saudi Arabia and we are working to mobilize European support for this plan.

Fourth, support for a Palestinian state is steadily growing in Europe. Norway recognized Palestine at a time when other European countries – Spain and Ireland, did the same. And as many remember, Oslo and Madrid played important – but different – ​​roles in the peace process in the early 1990s. We are also in close contact with other European countries.

Fifth, the official recognition of Palestine as a state was a natural step in Norway’s decades-long policy. This will give us more leverage in our ongoing efforts to encourage other countries to recognize Palestine, and to invest in the only solution that can bring lasting peace to the Middle East.

Finally, from a global perspective, we have rarely been as far from a viable two-state solution as we are today. At the same time, this approach has rarely enjoyed broader political support. In what must follow, after the ceasefire in Gaza, full access of humanitarian aid and the unconditional release of hostages, Palestinians have the right to enjoy the integrity of a state. The recognition of Norway contributes to this.

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