Flag of Sweden.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom’s tweet Wednesday about the wave of terror sweeping the country left diplomatic officials in Jerusalem angered and bewildered.
“Escalating violence in Jerusalem. Attacks against civilians unacceptable. Bring perpetrators to justice. Leaders must act responsibly,” wrote Wallstrom, using the staccato shorthand needed to get thoughts across on Twitter, which places a 140-character limit on messages.
A diplomatic source in Jerusalem said: “It is most regrettable that the Swedish foreign minister is unwilling to state
in a clear and unequivocal way that the terrorists are Palestinian, and that the victims are Israeli. We wish that her messages would be much clearer and correspond to the reality of the situation.”
While the Swedish foreign minister was not the only foreign diplomat to leave Jerusalem unsatisfied with mild condemnation of the terrorist attacks, Jerusalem directed its anger at Stockholm because this was seen as just another in a series of steps by the government that ignores Israel’s concerns and sensitivities.
Sweden triggered a rash of moves in European parliaments to recognize a Palestinian state when its newly elected government, on its first day in office in October 2014, became the first major Western European state to recognize “Palestine.”
While that move was seen in Jerusalem as fulfilling a campaign pledge to Sweden’s significant bloc of Muslim voters, Wallstrom’s tweet is viewed as an effort to go on the record about the situation while not upsetting the Arab states, which Sweden wants on its side for its bid to win a two-year temporary seat on the UN Security Council starting in 2016.
Sweden is competing against Italy and the Netherlands for the two spots on the UN Security Council reserved for the Western Europe and Others Group of countries..
Wallstrom canceled a trip to Israel in January after then-foreign minister Avigdor Liberman and other top officials made it clear that in light of Sweden’s recognition of “Palestine,” they would not meet with her.