Israel’s Ambassador to Sweden Isaac Bachman.
(photo credit: screenshot)
Israel will return its ambassador to Sweden next Saturday night, November 29, the date the United Nations voted for partition 67 years ago, to underline the fact that the Jews accepted a two-state solution, while the Arabs rejected it, the Foreign Ministry said.
Yitzhak Bachman was recalled from Stockholm for consultations last month to protest Sweden’s decision to recognize a Palestinian state.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said the choice of the November 29 date sends a message that Israel – in contrast to the Palestinians – always has been open to compromise.
“We say yes to peace, as we have always done, and the Palestinians say no, as they have always done,” Nachshon said, noting that recalling the ambassador was meant to send a strong message of Israel’s displeasure but that relations with Sweden now will return to normal.
“Sweden is an important country, we have extensive relations and hope that our message has been understood clearly – that assisting unilateral steps does not really contribute to peace,” he said.
Israel, according to diplomatic sources, has not received any indication from key actors in Europe that the Swedish move will lead to a flood of similar steps by other European governments.
Sweden became the first major western country to recognize “Palestine,” and in its wake the parliaments of Britain, Ireland and Spain have urged their governments, through non-binding parliamentary resolutions, to do the same. No other European government, however, has yet to follow Sweden’s lead.
Officials in Jerusalem have said that Sweden’s move to recognize a Palestinian state – which came just three weeks after a Social Democrat-led minority government took power in Stockholm – had much to do with domestic political considerations.
According to the officials, the Social Democrat Party promised two years ago that it would recognize “Palestine” if it took power as a way of luring the Sweden’s substantial Muslim population to the country’s Center and Left parties. Muslims make up an estimated 6.5 percent of the Swedish population, or some 650,000 people and the campaign promise on “Palestine” was fulfilled immediately.
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