Recalled Sweden ambassador in Jerusalem for consultations

No date has been set for Isaac Bachman's return to Israeli embassy in Stockholm.

November 2, 2014 20:26
2 minute read.
Isaac Bachman

Israel’s Ambassador to Sweden Isaac Bachman. (photo credit: screenshot)

Israel’s Ambassador to Sweden Isaac Bachman was in the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem for consultations on Sunday.

He was temporarily recalled to protest Sweden’s decision last week to recognize a Palestinian state.

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At this time, no date has been set for his return.

On Thursday, Sweden became the first major Western country to recognize a Palestinian state, triggering a sharp response from Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who recalled Bachman to Jerusalem for consultations.

Stockholm needs to understand relations in the Middle East are more complicated than self-assembly furniture at IKEA, said Liberman.

The recognition is an “unfortunate decision that strengthens the extremists,” he said.

The only chance at reaching an agreement was through negotiations, and that these types of moves strengthen the unrealistic Palestinian demands and serve to push any agreement further away, Liberman said.

“It is a pity the Swedish government has chosen to adopt the measure that does a lot of damage and has no benefits,” he said. Foreign Minister Margot Wallström issued a statement saying Sweden hoped the move would “facilitate a peace agreement by making the parties less unequal, supporting the moderate Palestinian forces and contributing to hope at a time when tensions are increasing and no peace talks are taking place.”

“The purpose of Sweden’s recognition is to contribute to a future in which Israel and Palestine can live side by side in peace and security.

We want to contribute to creating more hope and belief in the future among young Palestinians and Israelis who might otherwise run the risk of believing that there is no alternative to the current situation,” she said.

Officials in Jerusalem said that the Swedish move had to do more with domestic politics than with Israel and the Palestinians.

Israeli officials said that it was absurd that the government, which has been in power for less than a month and had not yet warmed up its seats, was “trying to play in the international arena.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday phoned Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and thanked him for his country’s decision to recognize the “State of Palestine.”

Abbas expressed appreciation for Sweden’s “historic stance,” adding that it would serve the peace process.

Löfven told the PA president during the phone conversation that Sweden took the decision to help resume the negotiations over a two-state solution, Abbas’s office said.

Löfven invited Abbas to visit Sweden.

The two men agreed to set a date for the visit in the nearest future, the Abbas’s office said.

Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.

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