Swedish Foreign Minister Margot 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.
- Swedish foreign minister accuses Israel of executing Palestinian assailants without trial
- Netanyahu: Sweden concedes it has no proof Israel commits extrajudicial killings
- Swedish PM says knife attacks do not constitute 'terror'
Israel's Foreign Ministry called the statements "irresponsible and delusional," adding that Wallstrom is "giving support to terror and thus encouraging violence."
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog also had a harsh response for the Swedish foreign minister, saying that her comments "give backing to terror."
"It's interesting that Sweden didn't respond likely when Paris police killed the terrorists as needed," Herzog on his Facebook page. "And it would be interesting to know if she would respond likely when the terrorists commit apalling attacks in her country. Would she demand, even then, to pet them on the head because they had a difficult childhood?"
The comments were the latest in a series of statements by Wallstrom that have irked Israeli authorities. Ties between Sweden and Israel nose-dived after Sweden recognized the Palestine state shortly after Wallstrom's centre-left Social Democrats won general elections in 2014.
She deepened the rift last year by describing Palestinians' plight as a factor leading to Islamist radicalization.
"It is vital that there is a thorough, credible investigation into these deaths in order to clarify and bring about possible accountability," Wallstrom said during a parliamentary debate, according to news agency TT .
Rights groups have accused Israel of using excessive force to quell the unrest.
The United States, the European Union and the United Nations have all expressed concern, saying that while they recognize Israel's right to self-defense, restraint is necessary to ensure the violence does not escalate further.
Almost daily stabbings, car-rammings and shootings by Palestinians have killed 21 Israelis and a U.S. citizen since early October, raising fears of a wider escalation a decade after the last Palestinian uprising subsided.
Israeli forces or armed civilians have killed at least 133 Palestinians in the same period, 83 of whom authorities described as assailants. Most of the others have been killed in clashes with security forces.
The surge in violence has been fueled by Palestinians' frustration over Israel's 48-year occupation of land they seek for an independent state, and the expansion of settlements in those territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.