Historical archive

Facts about Norway’s position with regard to Hamas

Historical archive

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recently received a number of questions about Norway’s position with regard to Hamas. A short summary of the facts is given below.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recently received a number of questions about Norway’s position with regard to Hamas.  A short summary of the facts is given below. 

  • Norway has never recognised Hamas, or established relations at political level with the movement. (According to international law, it is only states, not governments, that can be recognised by other states).
  • Norway deeply deplores the use of violence by Hamas, which is harming civilians in Israel.
  • Norway calls on Hamas to comply with the international community’s three conditions: that it recognise Israel’s right to exist, respect previous agreements and obligations entered into by the PLO, and be committed to non-violence. Until these conditions are met, Norway will not have any political contact with Hamas. However, Norway is of the view that dialogue is essential in order to influence Hamas to move in the right direction politically. Norway will therefore maintain contact at senior official level as appropriate.
  • When Hamas won the election in 2006 and formed a pure Hamas government, Norway reorganised its financial support to the Palestinian Authority in such a way that this did not go to Hamas-led institutions. Norwegian financial assistance was primarily channelled through the UN system and independent organisations. Norway did not have contact at political level with representatives of the Hamas government.
  • In order to achieve Palestinian reconciliation, Hamas and Fatah entered into negotiations with a view to forming a national unity government. The process was painful for both parties. In 2007, the unity government was formed.
  • Norway supported the Saudi efforts that led to the Mecca agreement and the formation of the unity government. The unity government presented a moderate government platform, which among other things brought Hamas far closer to meeting the international community’s three conditions, while giving President Abbas a mandate to negotiate a peace agreement with Israel on behalf of all the Palestinian people. The unity government, which included representatives from almost the entire Palestinian political spectrum, represented over 95% of the Palestinian population.   
  • At this point, Norway chose to normalise relations with the government. This involved having contact with, and cooperating with, members of the government from Hamas, but in their capacity as representatives of the unity government. Norway did not alter its position with regard to the Hamas movement, and upheld its demands on the movement.
  • It was our view at the time, and it still is, that it was correct to give the unity government our support. Switzerland, Turkey, Russia and all the Arab countries gave it their support too. Many countries in the EU also had close contact with representatives of the unity government.
  • Norway, along with the rest of the international community, resumed cooperation with the Palestinian Authority under Prime Minister Fayyad’s government in Ramallah in the autumn of 2007. Hamas is not part of this government.
  • Since the takeover of power in Gaza in 2007, Hamas has been politically and economically isolated by the international donor community.
  • Norway has condemned and continues to condemn Hamas’ firing of rockets from Gaza at civilian targets in Israel.
  • Norway deplored Hamas’ military takeover of Gaza. Norway made plain that the takeover of power in Gaza was unacceptable and demanded that Hamas hand over control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority immediately.
  • In Norway’s view, it is extremely important to work towards Palestinian reconciliation. This is essential if a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians is to be achieved. As long as the Palestinians remain politically and geographically divided, it will be impossible to conclude a final peace agreement. 
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