Israel Pulls Envoy After Swedes Recognize Palestinian State; FM: Middle East Not Like Ikea Furniture (VIDEO)
Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday announced that it was recalling its ambassador to Sweden, Isaac Bachman, over Sweden’s decision to recognize a Palestinian state.
“The Swedish government needs to understand that relations in the Middle East are more complicated than a piece of furniture from IKEA that you put together yourself, and it should act with responsibility and sensitivity,” Minister Avigdor Lieberman said, referencing the famed Swedish furniture chain.
Lieberman termed Sweden’s move “an unfortunate decision which strengthens radical elements and Palestinian recalcitrance.”
“Such measures only serve to bolster the Palestinians’ unrealistic demands and delay an agreement. The only way to reach an arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians is for the parties to conduct sincere negotiations,” according to Lieberman.
He assailed the move as “a declarative measure that can cause much damage and bring no benefit.”
Earlier in the day, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom officially recognized a Palestinian state, stating that the entity met “criteria of international law,” including “a [Palestinian] territory, a people, and government.”
“Today the government takes the decision to recognize the state of Palestine,” Wallstrom said in a statement published in the Dagens Nyheter daily.
“It is an important step that confirms the Palestinians’ right to self-determination,” she said.
However, it was unclear if the recognition only covered the West Bank under control of the Palestinian Authority, or if the rival Islamic Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip was part of the putative nascent state.
Despite agreeing to a “unity government,” both groups are in deep conflict over control of both areas, and deny each others validity as fitting representatives of the Palestinians.
“President Abbas welcomes Sweden’s decision,” and called the decision “brave and historic,” according to his spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina, speaking with AFP.
New Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven had supported a Palestinian state earlier in October, but Swedish Ambassador to Israel Carl Magnus Nesser at the time attempted to walk back the prime minister’s comments, according to the JNS News Service. Nesser said such recognition would only follow extensive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Yet that is not the case with Sweden’s latest announcement on the issue.
On October 5th, Lieberman said that incoming “Prime Minister Stefan Löfven must understand that no declaration and no measure by an external party can serve as a substitute for direct negotiations between the parties and a solution that will be part of an overall arrangement between Israel and the entire Arab world.”
Meanwhile, Löfven, is under fire for appointing a politician described as an “Islamist” to his cabinet.
Mehmet Kaplan, 43, was appointed the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, after serving two terms as a Member of Parliament representing the Green Party.
The anti-Israel Kaplan, 42, was among the so-called human rights activists who took part in a six-ship flotilla at the end of May, 2010, led by the Mavi Marmara ferry.
For Swedish Jewry, death threats, daily anti-Semitic attacks, and harassment are causing many of the shrinking 20,000-member community to say “enough,” and seek to establish their futures elsewhere.
“I and my friends decided to leave,” 22-year-old Victor Borslöv-Reichmann, told Israel’s NRG in August, after getting his 11th death threat after posting pro-Israeli views on his Facebook page.
Borslöv-Reichmann, a student of International Relations and Economics from Gothenburg, suggested some other preferable countries.
“I’m thinking of emigrating to Berlin, Tel Aviv or Haifa,” he said.
Watch a a video report on the growing threats against Jews in Sweden:
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