Analysis: Sweden’s message

Sweden – along with Ireland, Malta and Finland – are generally high up on the list of the EU countries who give Israel the toughest time inside various European institutions.

October 6, 2014 02:35
1 minute read.

Sweden's Prime minister Stefan Lofven announces his new government during a Parliament session in Stockholm October 3. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The foreign minister will call in Sweden’s ambassador on Monday to protest new Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s announcement Friday that his government will recognize “Palestine.”

That Sweden is the first European country to take this plunge comes as no real surprise in Jerusalem, where Stockholm has long been seen as one of Israel’s toughest critics inside the EU.

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Israeli diplomats are reluctant to rank countries in terms of their relationships toward Israel. Nevertheless, when lists are compiled, Sweden – along with Ireland, Malta and Finland – are generally high up on the list of the EU countries who give Israel the toughest time inside various European institutions.

And that was Sweden under a center-right government, when Carl Bildt was foreign minister. Now, with the formation of a center-left government in Stockholm, it was expected that matters might get Palestine after an agreement is negotiated.

Queried by The Jerusalem Post about whether this was indeed the meaning of the rather vague statement, a representative issued a corrected version of the statement, replacing the word “consequently” with “therefore,” and as a result leaving Löfven’s statement intact.

The corrected version reads as follows: “On his first day of office, the prime minister announced in parliament, as part of a statement on government policy, that Sweden will recognize the State of Palestine.

The conflict between Israel and Palestine can only be resolved through a two-state solution, the prime minister said, negotiated in accordance with the principles of international law. It must guarantee the legitimate demands of both the Palestinians and the Israelis for national self-determination and security. A two-state solution requires mutual recognition and a will to coexist peacefully. Therefore, Sweden will recognize the State of Palestine, the prime minister concluded.”


A Foreign Ministry official said that Israel will seek further clarification on the matter when Aviv Shiron, the ministry’s deputy director- general for Western Europe, meets with Swedish envoy Carl Magnus Nesser on Monday afternoon.

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