Israel Protests to Sweden Over Palestinian Recognition

Foreign Ministry official delivers message to Swedish ambassador in Israel that his government's move reduces chances of a permanent deal.

Reuters

Israel protested to the Swedish government over its decision to recognize the Palestinian state, Israel's Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem announced on Monday.

Aviv Shir-On, the Foreign Ministry's deputy director-general for Western Europe, registered Israel's official protest and disappointment regarding Sweden's intention in a meeting with the Scandinavian nation's ambassador in Israel, Stefan Lofven, on Monday.

Tomer Appelbaum

Sweden is set to become the first major European country to recognize the Palestinian state.

The announcement noted that Shir-On made it clear to the ambassador that its declaration not only serves to damage Israeli-Palestinian relations, worsens relations on the ground and reduces the chance of reaching a deal because it raises false expectations among Palestinians to achieve their goal unilaterally rather than through negotiations with Israel.

Shir-On also told the ambassador that there is a crisis in the Middle East, and at a time when many countries in the region are facing bitter battles and daily atrocities, the decision of the Swedish prime minister to focus on the Palestinian issue is hard to comprehend and out of place.

The Foreign Ministry added that the Swedish ambassador took note of Israel's message and promised to pass it on to his government.

Prime Minister Lofven said on Sunday that Sweden was not backing down from its decision in a phone coversation he had with Labor Party and opposition leader Isaac Herzog. The PLO welcomed the endorsement.