Swedish FM's Remarks on Paris Terror Spark Israeli Diplomatic Protest

Foreign Ministry chastised local Swedish envoy for minister Margot Wallstrom's remarks ostensibly linking terror to Israel-Palestinian conflict.

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Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom speaking in Stockholm on Sunday at a press conference. According to an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, she "is systematically and unilaterally biased against Israel."
Swedish Foreign Minister Wallstrom, on Sunday. She is "systematically and unilaterally biased against Israel," said an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman. Credit: AP

Swedish ambassador to Israel Carl Magnus Nesser was summoned on Monday by the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem to clarify comments by Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom in which she linked the attacks in Paris and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

During the meeting, Foreign Ministry directory-general Dore Gold condemned the Swedish minister's remarks and said that any claim linking ISIS and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was unfounded. Gold told Nesser that doing so could be used to justify Palestinian acts of terror.

Gold also protested the recently-published EU guidelines for labeling products from Israeli settlements, saying that Sweden was one of the countries leading the move. Labeling settlement products, he said, will not advance peace and may even harm Palestinians employed by Israelis in the West Bank.

In a televised interview with a Swedish television journalist following the attacks in Paris on Friday, Wallstrom said that to fight rising extremism among young Muslims, there is a need to resume talks over the conflict in the Middle East and to deal with the despair of many Palestinians who believe that they have no future.

“Anyone who engages in a foolish attempt to connect attacks by extremist Islam with the difficulties between Israel and the Palestinians is misleading himself, his people and international public opinion,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Emanuel Nahshon.

“The words of the Swedish foreign minister are shocking in their chutzpah. The Swedish foreign minister is systematically and unilaterally biased against Israel and is exhibiting genuine hostility when she points to any connection between the attacks in Paris and the problems between Israel and the Palestinians.”

The Swedish Embassy in Israel responded to the Israeli protest with a tweet on its Twitter account denying that Wallstrom had tied that attacks in Paris to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Swedish FM "has not said that Israeli Palestinian conflict is linked to tragic events in Paris. Sweden condemns all acts of terrorism," the tweet said.

A spokesman for the Swedish Foreign Ministry said that the interview "did not imply that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had anything to do with the tragic events in Paris. We condemn all acts of terrorism. As democracies, we now must unite and fight on our shared values."

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