Israel Reprimands Swedish Envoy Over FM's Call for Probe Into Killings of Palestinians

Foreign Ministry summons ambassador after Margot Wallstrom called for investigation to determine if Israel was guilty of extrajudicial killings of Palestinians during recent wave of violence.

In this Wednesday, March 11, 2015 file photo, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom gestures during a media interview at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in central Stockholm, Sweden.
AP

The Foreign Ministry summoned Swedish ambassador to Israel Carl Magnus for a reprimand on Wednesday over Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom's call for an investigation to determine if Israel was guilty of extrajudicial killings of Palestinians.

Magnus was summoned by Aviv Shir-On, the director-general for Western Europe in the Foreign Ministry.

Wallstrom called on Tuesday for an investigation to determine if Israel was guilty of extrajudicial killings of Palestinians during recent violence there, local media reported.

Shir-On told the Swedish diplomat that he not only protests Wallstrom's call, but also wishes to express the "fury of the Israeli government and the people of Israel over a distorted view of reality, as well as over yet another comment [by Wallsrom] indicating her biased and hostile attitude toward Israel," Foreign Minister spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said.

Wallstrom's remarks prove that she lacks the understanding of the region and shows that she is unaware of the difficult reality in which Israeli citizens are exposed to violent attacks, Shir-On told Magnus.

"Given the harmful and baseless position of the Swedish minister, Sweden has excluded itself, in the foreseeable future, from any role with regard to Israeli-Palestinian relations," Shir-On added.

Israel's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday called the statements "irresponsible and delusional," adding that Wallstrom is "giving support to terror and thus encouraging violence."

Minister Yuval Steinitz said Wednesday that Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom is "anti-Semitic, whether consciously or not." 

In an interview with Israel Radio, the minister of national infrastructure, energy and water accused Wallstrom of singling Israel out. Steinitz noted that other nations, such as the United States, Russia and France kill terrorists, but Wallstrom has not demanded investigations against them. He further claimed that Sweden had produced more Islamic State volunteers than any country in Europe.  

Earlier Wednesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, during a tour in the West Bank with future Israeli diplomats on the ministry's cadet course, said that "Israel is closing its gates to official visits from Sweden."

Hotovely's comments raised eyebrows – not only in diplomatic circles, but also in the Prime Minister's Office, where an official told Haaretz that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knows nothing about any decision to close the gates for official visits by Swedish officials.