Liberman to Swedes: Friendly govt's don't second-guess friends on national security issues

Foreign Minister writes op-ed in mass-circulation Dagens Nyheter paper in response to Swedish PM's announcement that Sweden will recognize "Palestine."

Avigdor Liberman (photo credit: REUTERS)
Avigdor Liberman
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Friendly governments do not act to undermine the national security of their friends or presume to know better how to contend with the challenges they face, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman wrote in a Swedish daily on Tuesday in reaction to Stockholm’s decision to recognize “Palestine.”
Liberman, in an op-ed in the mass-circulation Dagens Nyheter newspaper, wrote that he was “very disappointed” to learn of new Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s announcement during his inaugural address last week to recognize a Palestinian state.
“This announcement was not intended to serve as a genuine solution to a foreign problem,” Liberman wrote. “It was intended, so it seems, to placate a certain sector in Swedish public opinion. It is to be regretted when internal considerations determine a counterproductive and irresponsible foreign policy.”
On Monday, the Foreign Ministry called in the Swedish ambassador to protest the move.
“With the entire Middle East aflame, not to mention other regions in the world experiencing strife and instability, the undue focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict runs counter to all logic,” Liberman wrote, dismissing the idea that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would serve as some kind of “magical solution” to the many other problems in the region.
Liberman wrote that in the last three years some 200,000 Syrians have been killed, Iraq is on the verge of disintegration and some 130,000 citizens have been killed there since Saddam Hussein was toppled, some 15,000 Libyans have been killed in the fighting there, 400,000 killed in Darfur since 2003, and some 10,000 people have lost their lives since the eruption of the civil war in South Sudan last year.
Also, he added, “more than 800 Iranians have been executed by the Iranian regime, including journalists, poets, intellectuals and women accused of ‘immodesty’” since Iranian President Hassan Rouhani came to power last year.
“In addition, as the world has witnessed all too vividly in recent weeks, fanatic terrorist organizations such as ISIS, al-Qaida, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and Hamas have been committing countless atrocities, some of them even aspiring to acquire weapons of mass destruction,” he wrote. “Now what of all these appalling developments is emphasized in the statement of Prime Minister Löfven? The Israeli-Palestinian issue. This is not merely a matter of imbalance. It is a matter of fundamental unfairness.”
Liberman also asked where Löfven’s outrage was with regard to Israeli human rights, and the millions of Israelis who have been subjected “for years on end to waves of terrorism and to thousands of rocket attacks?” The foreign minister said this reveals “the hypocrisy of focusing disproportionately on the Palestinians, when much of the world around us is blazing.”
Regarding Sweden’s support for Palestinian unilateral measures, such as a declaration of statehood, he wrote, “Do those who support unilateral measures really believe that the Israeli government – any Israeli government – could abandon the security of its citizens and Israel’s vital national interests just because someone outside the region believes, wrongly, that endorsing the Palestinian position will resolve the conflict? Would the Swedish government be willing to abandon the interests of its citizens due to external attempts to impose conditions in a matter of national importance? I believe the answer is clear.”