Norway recognises Palestine as a state

‘The Norwegian Government has decided that Norway will recognise Palestine as a state. In the midst of a war, with tens of thousands killed and injured, we must keep alive the only alternative that offers a political solution for Israelis and Palestinians alike: Two states, living side by side, in peace and security,’ said Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

Bilde av statsminister Jonas Gahr Støre og utenriksminister Espen Barth Eide på scene under pressekonferanse
Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide at the press conference when they announced that Norway recognizes Palestine. Credit: Mathias Rongved/MFA

Norway’s long-term engagement has supported and sought to advance the two-state solution. Recognition of Palestine as a state further highlights the long-held Norwegian position that a lasting solution to the conflict in the Middle East is only achieved through a two-state solution.

Two-state solution

The Palestinian people have a fundamental, independent right to self-determination. Both Israelis and Palestinians have a right to live in peace in their respective states. There will be no peace in the Middle East without a two-state solution. There can be no two-state solution without a Palestinian state. In other words, a Palestinian state is a prerequisite for achieving peace in the Middle East,’ said Prime Minister Støre. 

The territorial demarcation between the state of Palestine and the state of Israel should be based on the pre-1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states, and without prejudice to a final settlement on borders, including the use of land swaps.

‘Recognition of Palestine is a means of supporting the moderate forces which have been losing ground in this protracted and brutal conflict. It also sends a strong message to other countries to follow the example of Norway and a number of other European countries and recognise the state of Palestine. This could ultimately make it possible to resume the process towards achieving a two-state solution and give it renewed momentum,’ said Prime Minister Støre. 

Recognition as the impetus for peace

Since the Oslo Accords of roughly 30 years ago, Norway and many other countries have pursued a strategy in which recognition would follow a peace agreement. This has not been successful.

‘In the absence of a peace process and a political solution to the conflict, developments have gone in the wrong direction. Neither the Palestinian nor the Israeli people can live their lives in security. That is why we need to think differently and act accordingly. We can no longer wait for the conflict to be resolved before we recognise the state of Palestine,’ said Mr Støre. 

‘Palestine is caught in a downward spiral of economic instability and aid dependency, as well as lack of fundamental rights. Terrorism and violence from Hamas and other militant groups undermine the trust that is so essential to achieving lasting peace. Israel’s long-standing policy of establishment and expansion of illegal settlements diminishes the basis for a viable Palestinian state. A general sense of hopelessness has grown stronger among the Palestinians for every year that has passed,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide. 

Several reasons to recognise now

There are several reasons why this is the right time to recognise Palestine as a state.

‘The ongoing war in Gaza has made it abundantly clear that achieving peace and stability must be predicated on resolving the Palestinian question. The war is the lowest point in the prolonged Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The situation in the Middle East has not been this grave for many years,’ said Mr Støre.

The UN General Assembly recently adopted a resolution stating that Palestine is fully qualified for membership of the United Nations, with an overwhelming majority of 143 countries voting in favour.

‘Efforts are underway to draw up a comprehensive Arab peace vision. A number of Arab countries are involved in this, and recognition of Palestine as a state is a key component. Norway is cooperating closely with Saudi Arabia and is taking active steps to mobilise European support for the Arab peace vision. Norway and Saudi Arabia recently hosted a high-level meeting of foreign ministers in Riyadh to discuss this initiative. In a few days, Norway will be chairing an international partner meeting about Palestine in Brussels, where the new Palestinian Prime Minister and Government will be presenting their reform plans. We are hoping to make some major progress there,’ said Mr Eide.

The Government is taking these steps as part of the follow-up to the decision taken by the Storting (Norwegian parliament) on 16 November 2023.

Norway’s expectations

In its role as chair of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), the international donor group for Palestine, Norway has been a strong advocate of the Palestinian state-building project. At the same time as it recognises Palestine as a state, Norway also has clear expectations that the new Palestinian Government will continue the effort to implement democratic reform, strengthen the judiciary and combat corruption.

‘Norway will continue to support the Palestinian state-building project. We must strengthen the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of Prime Minister Muhammed Mustafa, and we must work for the Palestinian Authority to govern in Gaza following a ceasefire and for there to be one Palestinian government. The goal is to achieve a Palestinian state that is politically cohesive, and that derives from the Palestinian Authority,’ said Mr Eide.

International consensus

There is broad international consensus, in, among others, the US, the EU, China, and the Arab, African, Asian and Latin American countries, that a two-state solution is the only solution that will provide lasting peace and stability for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Norway’s formal recognition of Palestine as a state will enter into force on Tuesday 28 May 2024. A number of other likeminded European countries will also formally recognise Palestine on that same date. These countries will be making their own announcements. A total of 143 countries have previously recognised the Palestinian state.

‘Recognition by various European countries is not, in itself, sufficient to ensure that a Palestinian state will be sustainable. By recognising a Palestinian state, we are supporting the Arab peace plan which has been further developed by key actors in the region in the wake of 7 October. Norway has taken a leading role in mobilising European support for the plan. Its main elements are an irreversible process towards the establishment of a Palestinian state, strengthening of the Palestinian Authority, credible security guarantees for Israel and demobilisation of Hamas and other armed groups and normalisation of relations between Israel and Arab countries. While none of these steps can solve the Israel-Palestine conflict on its own, the sum of them can lead to great advancements,’ said Mr Eide.

30 years after the Oslo Accords

Norway’s recognition of a Palestinian state is taking place just over 30 years after the signing of the first Oslo Accord in 1993. Since then, the Palestinians have taken important steps towards a two-state solution. In 2011, the World Bank concluded that Palestine had met the key criteria required to function as a state. National institutions to provide the population with crucial services have been established. Nonetheless, the war in Gaza and the ongoing expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank have made the situation in Palestine more difficult than it has been in decades.

‘Israelis and the Palestinians alike need security and hope for the future. What is most urgent at the moment is to achieve a ceasefire, ensuring that enough humanitarian aid reaches the people of Gaza, and obtaining the release of the hostages. In the longer term, we hope that the recognition of Palestine as a state will encourage the parties to restart peace talks with a goal of finding solutions to the outstanding final status issues. A Palestinian state will also enhance security for the Israelis,’ said Mr Eide.

It is Norway’s view that intensifying efforts to achieve a Palestinian state and a two-state solution will help to reinforce the moderate forces that are seeking a political solution on both sides.

Norway condemns terrorism

Both the Palestinian and Israeli authorities have been informed of the Norwegian Government’s decision to recognise Palestine as a state.

‘Norway intends to continue its close contact with the Israeli authorities. Norway was one of the first countries to recognise the state of Israel in 1949. Israel is in a vulnerable security situation, and Norway recognises Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself, within the framework of international law. We believe that the two-state solution is in Israel’s best interests. It will help to establish a more peaceful, safe and stable region,’ said Mr Støre.


  • Norway recognises Palestine as a state in line with international law and relevant resolutions by the UN Security Council. The territorial demarcation between the state of Palestine and the state of Israel should be based on the pre-1967 borders, i.e. the demarcation line as set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states and without prejudice to a final settlement on borders, including the use of land swaps.
  • Recognition of the state of Palestine is part of the follow-up to the 2023 decision in the Storting (Norwegian Parliament) that the Government may choose to recognise Palestine as a state at a time when the decision could be of value to the peace process and without any conditions relating to a final peace agreement.
  • The decision to recognise Palestine as a state is considered a matter of importance which, in accordance with Article 28 of the Constitution, requires approval by the King in Council of State. Following the adoption by Royal Decree on Friday 24 May, Palestine will be formally informed of the recognition by verbal note. Norway’s formal recognition of Palestine as a state will enter into force on Tuesday 28 May 2024.
  • The recognition of Palestine as a state means that Norway will consider Palestine to be an independent state with the rights and duties this entails. This includes, among other things, the expectation from Norway that all relations with Palestine will be founded on the fundamental rules of international law regarding independence, equality and peaceful coexistence.