“It’s outrageous, it’s immoral and it’s stupid,” Netanyahu stated candidly regarding the Swedish foreign minister’s latest diplomatic attack on the Jewish state.
Israel said Wednesday that Sweden’s foreign minister is “not welcome” in Israel after she called for an investigation into the deaths of Palestinians involved in a four-month spate of deadly terror attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said that “given the incendiary and aggressive nature” of Margot Wallstrom’s comments, “we have made it clear that she is not welcome in Israel.” He did not elaborate.
Sweden’s ambassador was summoned Wednesday and reprimanded in protest over Wallstrom’s remarks, Nahshon added. The summons, he said, showed “the anger of the government and the people in Israel” over Wallstrom’s “twisted” view of reality in Israel that is “biased and even hostile” against Israel.
“Wallstrom’s remarks show that she doesn’t understand what is taking place in our region and is apparently unaware of the harsh situation where Israelis are exposed to the perpetual dangers of murderous terror attacks,” Nahshon said.
Near-daily Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers have killed 27 people and wounded dozens in stabbings, shootings and other assaults since mid-September.
On Tuesday, Wallstrom called for an investigation into allegations that Israeli forces have carried out “extrajudicial killings” in clashes with Palestinians. “It is vital that there are thorough, credible investigations into these deaths in order to clarify and bring about possible accountability,” Wallstrom told lawmakers.
In his annual address to foreign media in Jerusalem Thursday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described Wallstrom’s comments as “absurd” and “unjust.”
He asked rhetorically whether she would ask for the same of French or American forces who shot dead would-be stabbers.
“It’s outrageous, it’s immoral and it’s stupid,” he declared.
Sweden’s relations with Israel have been strained since the Social Democratic-led government in 2014 recognized Palestinian statehood, and Wallstrom’s comments on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have elicited angry responses from Israeli officials.
Swedish opposition lawmaker Jan Bjorklund of the Liberal Party accused the government of shifting the country’s Middle East policy so that it’s perceived to be “siding much more unilaterally with the Palestinian party.”
As foreign minister, Wallstrom has been accused of being too blunt and undiplomatic in her public comments.
This is not the first time Wallstrom has accused Israel of extrajudicial executions of Palestinians. Likewise, Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven claimed that Palestinian stabbing attacks do not constitute “terrorism.”
Earlier this week, she appeared to step on toes in her own government when she proposed at a domestic security conference that Sweden should re-introduce conscription, but in a gender-balanced form, an issue that’s outside her remit.
By: AP and United with Israel Staff
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