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Op-Ed: The New NATO Sec. General is a Promoter of Hamas

Stoltenberg is a poor choice as NATO sec.general for many reasons, the leading one being his support for Hamas.
Published: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 10:36 AM


As time passes, it becomes increasingly clear how absurd the choice of former Norwegian Labor Party Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg as NATO’s next Secretary General is. The new Hamas-Fatah agreement brings to mind the many ways Stoltenberg, his government and Labor have directly and indirectly promoted Hamas’ interests.

Hamas calls for the murder of Jews in its party platform.[1] In January 2006, it won a majority in the only Palestinian general elections. The European Union and the U.S. classify Hamas as a terrorist group.[2] Both ended contacts with Palestinian officials after Hamas formed a new Palestinian government led by Ismael Haniyeh in March 2006. The United States and the E.U. then also cut off aid to the Palestinians.[3]

In April 2006, two Hamas representatives, parliamentarian and spokesperson for the Hamas bloc in the Parliament, Salah Mohammed El-Bardawil and Mohammed El-Rantisi, were invited to visit by the Norwegian Palestine Committee. They claimed that it was “important” to invite representatives from the new Palestinian government.[4] El-Rantisi was given a Schengen visa by Norway, allowing him entry into any of the 15 member countries, while El-Bardawil received a national visa as his previous Schengen application was denied by France.[5] [6]

The entry permits were given only a few weeks after a major suicide bombing took place outside a fast food restaurant ‘The Mayor’s Falafel’ in Tel Aviv, which claimed nine lives and left more than 70 wounded.[7] The Islamic Jihad movement claimed responsibility. Hamas called the attack a legitimate response to “Israeli aggression.” Even though El-Bardawil said that he did not condemn the suicide bombing, Foreign Minister Støre - also from Labor - welcomed the Hamas representatives to Norway.[8] [9]

In the following months, Hamas representatives parliamentarian Yahya al-Abadsa and Refugee Minister Atef Adwan were invited by the same organization. Al-Abadsa met with Amnesty International Norway and the Labor party head of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Olav Akselsen, during his week-long visit.[10] Adwan attended a meeting with head of the Middle East section of the Foreign Ministry, Kåre Eltervåg.[11] He also met with parliamentarians from both the Labor and Socialist Left parties.

Stoltenberg was not only Prime Minister but also head of the Labor Party, which he is until now.

Norway was the first Western government to recognize the short-lived 2007 Hamas-Fatah unity government, again led by Haniyeh.[12] Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Raymond Johansen became the first senior European official to hold talks with him in March 2007. Several media displayed a picture of the two shaking hands.[13] After meeting Haniye, Johansen said "We hope that all the European countries and even other countries will support this unity government.”[14] [15] Israel thereupon cancelled all planned meetings between Johansen and Israeli officials.

During Israel’s Cast Lead Operation in 2008, two Norwegian physicians and extreme left activists Mads Gilbert and Erik Fosse, went to Gaza and assisted in the treatment of wounded Gazans. They traveled to Gaza as part of the humanitarian organization NORWAC, which is supported financially to a great extent by Norway’s Foreign Ministry.[16] Gilbert and Fosse were frequently interviewed by the international media and claimed that Israel was attacking civilians and compared it to the God of the Dead and the Underworld, Hades from Greek mythology.[17]

The Gazan hospital where they worked was used as Hamas headquarters. However, the Norwegian physicians did not mention this once in their multiple international press interviews. In their book Eyes in Gaza, these two Hamas propagandists tell how Stoltenberg called the physicians when they were in Gaza and expressed support on behalf of the government and the Norwegian people. “We are very proud of you,” said Stoltenberg.[18]

In 2011, the Norwegian government claimed on its official website that it had assisted in bringing Fatah and Hamas together in their short-lived unity government in 2007. Støre had then approached Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal at the request of Mohammed Abbas to convey expectations of the international community that the two parties join in a unity government. The Norwegian government also asserted that it never recognized Hamas and did not establish political contact with it.

Benson K. Whitney, then-American Ambassador in Norway, saw it differently. In a note from 2009 which he had written to the State Department, he said that, “Even though they would deny it, there are clear signs that the contact with Hamas is not just a tactical need for dialogue, but that they also support Hamas’s position on some level.”[19]

I have already documented elsewhere many other reasons why Stoltenberg is such a poor choice as Nato Secretary General.[20] As time passes, additional arguments supporting this will most likely come to the surface.

Sources:

[1] “The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement,” Yale Law School. [retrieved 29 June 2013]

[2] “Hamas Wants off US, EU Terror lists,” CBNNews 12 March 2013

[3] “EU, US set to end boycott of Palestinians,” BBC, 20 March 2007.

[4] Ole Berthelsen and Ole Peder Giæver, ”Støre ønsker Hamas velkommen,” Nettavisen, 18 April 2006.

[5] Abigail Klein Leichman,“Oslo Grants Visa to Hamas Lawmaker,” Jerusalem Post, 16 May 2006.

[6] Sissel Henriksen, ”Slakter Sveriges,” Klassekampen, 19 May 2006.

[7] “Suicide bomber kills nine in Tel Aviv,” NBC News, 17 April, 2006.

[8] Ashraf al-Khadra and Ole Peder Giæver, ”Fordømmer ikke selvmords-angrepet,” Nettavisen, 18 April 2006.

[9] Ole Berthelsen and Ole Peder Giæver, ”Støre ønsker Hamas velkommen.”

[10] Ole Peder Giæver,”Hamas-parlamentarikeren Yahya Al-Abadsa, som denne uken er på besøk i Norge, tror ikke det brygger til borgerkrig i de palestinske områdene,” Nettavisen, 13 June 2006.

[11] ”UD-representanter møtte Hamas-minister,” Aftenposten, 13 May 2006.

[12] Harald S. Klungtveit and Morten Øverbye, ”Israel avlyser alle avtaler med norsk statssekretær,” Dagbladet, 20 March 2007.

[13] “Norwegian minister meets Hamas PM,” BBC News, 19 March 2007.

[14] Ibid.

[15]  Norway-Hamas Link Angers Israel,” BBC News, 20 March 2007.

[16] Erik Abild, “NORWAC i Palestina,” Norwegian Aid Committee, 19 December 2010. 

[17] Gjermund Glesnes, “Sammenligner Gaza med dødsriket Hades,” Verdens Gang, 4 January 2009.

[18] Erlend Skevik, ”Regjeringen støttet Gaza-legene,” Verdens Gang, 18 September.2009.

[19]  Pål T. Jørgensen and Espen Eide, ”Støre har hatt hemmelige samtaler med Hamas.” 27 January 2011.

[20] Manfred Gerstenfeld, ”NATO’s new secretary-general: Problematic not only for Israel,” Jerusalem Post, 6 April 2014.