PM Jonas Gahr Støre & Palestinian PM Mohammad Shtayyeh (@jonasgahrstore - X)

Norway's decision to recognize an independent Palestinian state as of May 28 is an affront to justice and reason, especially in light of the horrific Hamas attacks on October 7th. This recognition is not only premature but also dangerously irresponsible, effectively rewarding a Palestinian leadership that has consistently rejected peace and engaged in or encouraged violence.

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre's statement, which conveniently ignores the history of failed peace efforts and Palestinian intransigence, declares, "Palestine has a fundamental right to an independent state. There cannot be peace in the Middle East if there is no recognition." This simplistic view disregards the numerous attempts by Israeli leaders, like Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, to achieve peace, only to be met with outright rejection and violence from Palestinian leaders.

Støre's remarks gloss over the critical fact that while the Palestinian Authority may not directly commit terror attacks, it certainly incites and financially rewards those who do. This is not a surprise though coming from Norway. In November, just one month after the October 7th massacre by Hamas and one week after Israel launched their ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Støre hosted Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and consoled him over the displacement and killing of Palestinians in Gaza.

The historical context is crucial here. During the Camp David talks in 2000, Yasser Arafat walked away from an offer by Ehud Barak that met nearly all Palestinian demands, including a shared Jerusalem. Instead of negotiating in good faith, Arafat was preparing for the second intifada, which erupted shortly after the talks and led to the deaths of over 1,000 Israelis, primarily civilians, including women and children. The Palestinian militants' refusal to wear uniforms complicates casualty counts, but the vast majority of Palestinian casualties were males of fighting age, indicating a clear pattern of organized militant activity.

Hamas, recognized as a terrorist organization by the US, EU, UK, Australia, Canada, Israel, and others, continues to perpetrate violence and terror against Israeli civilians. Fatah, led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, also has a militant wing and a disturbing history of encouraging violence. Norway's decision to recognize a Palestinian state without demanding concrete steps towards peace and security is not just naive; it is dangerously negligent.

Israelis and supporters of Israel see Norway's move as undermining the peace process. Unilateral declarations of Palestinian statehood without requiring any concessions or efforts towards peace effectively reward bad behavior. This stance echoes the flawed logic that peace can be imposed rather than negotiated, a position that even former US Presidents Clinton and Obama have warned against.

Norway's foreign minister, Espen Barth Eid, may claim that recognizing a Palestinian state is a "tool to help something to happen," but in reality, it signals to Palestinian leaders that they can continue their current policies without facing any real consequences. This is especially concerning given the Palestinian Authority's "Pay-For-Slay" program, which rewards individuals and their families for committing acts of terror against Israelis.

The international community must hold Palestinian leaders accountable for their actions and demand real, verifiable steps towards peace. Recognizing a Palestinian state under the current conditions not only undermines Israel's security but also jeopardizes the prospects for a genuine, lasting peace in the Middle East.

Israel has rightly recalled its envoys to Ireland and Norway for urgent consultations, with Foreign Minister Israel Katz stating unequivocally, "Israel will not back down against those who undermine its sovereignty and endanger its security." The world must recognize that peace cannot be achieved by rewarding those who perpetuate violence and reject meaningful negotiations. If Spain or any other nation follows Norway's misguided example, they too should expect strong diplomatic repercussions from Israel. The path to peace requires accountability, not unwarranted concessions.

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