Israel protests over Sweden's Palestine plan

Israel calls in Sweden's ambassador to "express disappointment" at Swedish plan to recognise state of Palestine.

    Israel protests over Sweden's Palestine plan
    Sweden's prime minister Stefan Lofven said last week he believed peace hinged on establishing two states [Reuters}

    The Israeli foreign ministry had called in the Swedish ambassador to protest against Stockholm's intentions to recognise a Palestinian state.

    Carl Magnus Nesser was summoned on Monday by the ministry's deputy director general for Europe, Aviv Shir-On, who "protested and expressed Israel's disappointment" after Sweden's prime minister Stefan Loefven announced plans to recognise a Palestinian state.

    Shir-On warned that such a move would "not contribute to the relations between Israel and the Palestinians, but in fact worsen them".

    The Swedish prime minister's remarks "diminish the chances of reaching an agreement, since they create among the Palestinians an unfeasible expectation of being able to reach their goal unilaterally and not through negotiations with Israel," he added.

    Israel insists that the Palestinians can only receive their promised state through direct negotiations and not through other diplomatic channels.

    A two-state solution requires mutual recognition and a will to coexist peacefully. Sweden will recognise the state of Palestine.

    Stefan Loefven, Sweden's PM

    Shir-On said Sweden's decision to focus on the Palestinian issue was "strange" given the turmoil, wars and "daily acts of horror" taking place in the region.

    The Swedish embassy in Israel did not comment on the meeting, which took place three days after Loefven's announcement during his inaugural address to parliament.

    Over the weekend the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, also denounced Loefven's remarks in which he said recognition would be a step towards resolving the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    "A two-state solution requires mutual recognition and a will to coexist peacefully. Therefore, Sweden will recognise the state of Palestine," Loefven said on Friday, without saying when the step would be taken.

    Sweden voted in favour of the Palestinians obtaining observer status at the UN in 2012, which was granted despite opposition from the US, Israel and other countries.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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