Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom gestures during an interview with Swedish TT News Agency at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in central Stockholm, Sweden, on March 11, 2015.
(photo credit: CLAUDIO BRESCIANI / TT NEWS AGENCY / AFP)
Israel is closing its door to visits from Swedish officials in the wake of Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom’s call in Sweden's parliament on Tuesday for an investigation into “extrajudicial killings” of Palestinians during the current wave of terrorism.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said Wednesday that there has been a “degree of disconnect” between Sweden and Israel for the last two years, and during this period Israel has not agreed to visits from Wallstrom.
Speaking during a tour of Samaria with cadets in the Foreign Ministry course, Hotovely said that “Israel was sending in the clearest manner possible a very sharp message to Sweden saying that it is backing terror and giving a tail wind to Islamic State to act throughout Europe.”
Hotovely said that Wallstrom’s comments were a “bad combination of folly and diplomatic stupidity, and Israel will close its door to official visits from Sweden.”
According to local press reports, Wallstrom said in parliament that “it is vital” that there be a “thorough, credible” investigation into the deaths of Palestinians “to clarify and bring about possible accountability.”
The Foreign Ministry reacted immediately to her comment, saying that they were “irresponsible and delirious,” and that she was “giving support to terrorism and encouraging violence.”
National Infrastructure Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz pointed out that Wallstrom singled out Israel for killing terrorists, but did not voice any such criticism of the US or Russia, which are bombing terrorists in Syria, or France which shot and killed terrorists there.
“She is being pulled after an anti-Semitic sentiment,” he said in an Israel Radio interview. He said that anyone who looks at the war on terrorism, where many countries are killing terrorists in both defensive and offensive actions, but calls to investigate only the war on terrorists in the Jewish state “is consciously or subconsciously” engaged in anti-Semitism.
Steinitz said that perhaps Wallstrom was trying to “cover for hundreds of Swedish citizens who are involved in terrorism. Sweden is apparently the EU champion in the percentage of participants from their Muslim population who have joined Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.”
He said that the Swedish government has turned into an “anti-Israeli” government
Former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman was even harsher in his criticism of Wallstrom, saying that “the only thing the Swedish foreign minister still has not done is physically join the Palestinian terrorists and stab Jews. In the light of her behavior up until now, we need to hope that this will not happen.”
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog also condemned her comments, saying that other European leaders should condemn them as well.
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