Israel’s Foreign Ministry summons Sweden’s ambassador in Israel for an urgent meeting with its Director-General Dore Gold.
The Jerusalem Post
Israel on Monday condemned as “shockingly hostile” comments by Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom that seemed to link the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the ISISbacked terrorist attacks in Paris.
After the Paris attacks, Wallstrom was asked the following question on Swedish television.
“How worried are you about the radicalization of young people in Sweden who are fighting for ISIS?” According to the translation provided by Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Wallstrom answered: “Obviously, we have reason to be worried, not just in Sweden but across the world, because there are so many that are being radicalized. Here, once again, we are brought back to situations like the one in the Middle East, where not least, the Palestinians see that there isn’t a future. We must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.”
The Swedish Foreign Ministry issued a clarification in which it denied that Wallstrom had made a connection between the two.
“In the interview referred to, no implication or reference was made that implied that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had any relevance for the tragic events in Paris. We condemn all acts of terror. We must now unite as democracies to fight for our common values in these challenging times.”
But the Foreign Ministry on Monday said it felt Wallstrom’s comments did indeed make that link and summoned Sweden’s Ambassador to Israel Carl Magnus Nesser to speak with ministry director-general Dore Gold.
The two men spoke for close to half an hour, Gold expressing Israel’s displeasure at Sweden’s general policy when it comes to Israel.
Sweden is one of the countries that is leading the call to place consumer labels on settlement products, Gold said, calling it a discriminatory measure that singles out Israel.
It doesn’t advance the peace process and it harms those Palestinians employed in Israeli factories over the Green Line, Gold said.
Now, he added, Wallstrom has made comments that could be interpreted as a justification for Palestinian terrorism.
“Those who engage in hopeless attempts to link the terrorist attacks by Islamist extremists with the difficulties between Israelis and Palestinians are misleading themselves as well as the public opinion of their country and the international community,” the Foreign Ministry said, calling Wallstrom’s words “brazen” and “shocking.”
“The Swedish Minister is systematically biased and one-sided against Israel,” the ministry said, adding that this latest statement was outrightly “hostile.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said Europe’s belief that Israel is the source of all the troubles in the world shows it has learned nothing over the years.
“Does Iran act out of frustration, did [Osama] Bin Laden act out of frustration?” she asked.
US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, meanwhile, said the US rejects terrorism whether it is directed against France or Israel.
During a speech in Eilat, Shapiro condemned Friday’s terrorist attack in the South Hebron Hills in which Palestinian gunmen killed Yaakov Litman, 40, and his son, Netanel, 18, in an attack on the family’s van.
“As Israel mourns the murder of so many of its citizens – most recently, Rabbi Yaakov Litman z”l and his son Netanel Litman z”l, who were gunned down just before Shabbat – and prays for the recovery of dozens more – a list that includes American citizens – America’s leaders and countless other Americans stand in steadfast solidarity with you,” Shapiro said.
“A similar solidarity to that which we feel for France during these dark days,” he continued.
“With Israel, just as with France, America’s condemnation, our total rejection of terror – whether in the form of rocks, knives, motor vehicles, guns, suicide bombers, or rockets – is unequivocal and rooted in the kinship of our open and democratic societies,” Shapiro said.
During the last few days, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also has drawn a link between the two attacks, which occurred within hours of each other on Friday.
Speaking at a Likud faction meeting on Monday, Netanyahu said the terrorists who kill Israelis and those who target Parisians have the same goals.
“Those who kill Israelis have the exact same murderous intentions as those who killed in Paris and the methods we use – blowing up terrorists’ homes, determined action by our forces, including entering different places and increasing the amount of forces – allow us to prevent much of their actions,” he said.
“We have been fighting terrorism for almost 100 years and are battling it successfully,” Netanyahu said, pointing to the “powerful” policy of demolishing terrorists’ homes and saying the father of the terrorist who killed two Israelis on Friday may have turned in his son in order to avoid having the home demolished. He also noted other methods of combating terrorism, such as increasing forces and entering terrorist strongholds and neighborhoods.
Netanyahu concluded, “There is no way to fight terrorism but to fight terrorism” and nothing can replace that fight.
Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.
Despite the mollifying declarations by its foreign minister, Sweden’s government won’t unconditionally condemn Palestinian terror attacks on Israeli civilians.
Mathias Sundin Nov 16, 2015
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks next to Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom during the inauguration of the Embassy of Palestine in central Stockholm, Sweden, Feb. 10, 2015. Reuters
Sweden’s Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström, claims in a recent article in Haaretz (“From Sweden, Looking Toward Israel With Friendly Concern”) that the Swedish government is a friend of Israel : “Sweden has a long history of friendship with Israel. We are and will remain a good friend.” This statement is simply not true and her government’s own actions showcase its falsity.
The most recent example is the lack of condemnations by the Swedish government of the daily terror attacks in Israel. The government only condemns “all violence” and makes it look like that Israeli protection from violence is as bad as the terror attacksl. Shooting and killing those who try to stab civilians to death is not violence that should be condemned.
Sweden itself recently suffered a trauma that one might reasonably think would emphasize this for the government. In October, a man with a sword and a large knife attacked children and school workers, many of a foreign background at a primary school. This happens several times a day in Israel. Two people died in the attack and the police shot and killed the attacker. Of course, no one has criticized the police for this. .
Then why does the Swedish government criticize its counterparts in the Israeli police for doing the same thing?
Recently, I asked one of the government ministers at the weekly Parliamentary question-time about the lack of condemnations of Palestinian terror attacks. He answered that the government “condemns all terror attacks in Israel … and in Palestine”. But there are no terror attacks in Palestine!
When there are news about new Israeli settlements, the condemnation from the Swedish government is immediate and thorough. Is it really worse to build new houses than to kill civilians?
If you can’t condemn terror without ifs and buts then you’re no friend.
Last year, one of the newly elected government’s first actions was to officially recognize the State of Palestine. The reasoning from the government was that this would support “the moderate Palestinians” and make it more possible to put pressure on the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian Authority. This has not happened. When the Palestinian ambassador in Sweden has been asked to condemn the violence and terror attacks against civilian Israelis she has refused to do this, despite direct questions from the Swedish media. The reaction to this from the Swedish government and the Foreign Minister has been silence.
The government is no friend of Israel, but they’re no friend of the Palestinian people either. They are only a friend of the Palestinian leadership. They put no pressure on the PA to hold new elections, no pressure on them to respect the human rights of their own people (and of course not of Israelis) and no pressure to become a democracy. I know many Palestinians feel hatred towards Israel, but I’m also convinced that they also want to live in peace and democracy. Two democratic countries have never gone to war against each other and the only hope for lasting peace is a democratic Palestine.
This is not the responsibility of Israel, but the rest of the democratic world should pressure the Palestinian leaders and help the Palestinian people to embrace democracy. It’s obvious that the current Palestinian leadership has no interest in either democracy or peace. Sweden, as one of the world’s top financial donors to the PA, has great leverage to do this, but chooses not to.
A protester chants slogans near a banner reading “Boycott Israel” during an anti-Israel march in Malmo, Sweden. Reuters
Sweden should also put pressure on Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to accept a two-state solution. In 2008 he rejected the proposal from then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for a Palestinian state. He didn’t even come up with a counter proposal, just as Yasser Arafat refused to do so in the negotiations in 2000. If Abbas and Arafat had said yes, there would most likely be a Palestinian state today. The pressure should be on the PA and Abbas to show they really want a two-state solution, not the Israelis.
The Swedish government is truly no friend of Israel. The Swedish public is also strongly biased against Israel. But the Israeli people shouldn’t give up on Sweden, because there are also many friends of Israel in Sweden. The organization I chair, the Sweden-Israel Friendship Association, has 3,000 members and growing. We fight back against attacks on Israel and attempts to boycott Israeli products. It’s an uphill battle, but recently we won one of those fights, when Palestinian activists tried to get a large Swedish grocery chain, the Co-op, to boycott Israeli products. There is also a group of parliamentarians across several parties who question and fight the government’s policies towards Israel, in Parliament and in the media. We fight for the right for the Jewish people to live safely in their own state and we, without ifs and buts, condemn the terror against Israel.
Mathias Sundin is a member of the Swedish Parliament for the Liberal Party and Chairman of the Sweden-Israel Friendship Association.
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.686381