When Hamas and Fatah established a national unity government in March of 2007, Norway was the first Western country to recognize this new government, ending Hamas’s diplomatic isolation. Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gar Store announced today, during a visit to Jerusalem, that his government has reversed its policy and no longer recognizes Hamas.
Norway’s decision is a welcome one. Still, one cannot help noticing that, as early as April of 2006, Norway had invited Hamas representatives to visit in order “to maintain dialogue,” on the grounds that Hamas plays “an important role in developments in the Middle East.” It’s not clear which kinds of development the Norwegians had in mind. But I’m fairly sure that executing opponents in the streets in front of their families, throwing a tied-up 28-year-old cook off the roof of a fifteen-story building, and forcibly converting a Christian scholar to Islam are not “developments” at all, but war crimes or gross human rights violations.