“If we are to be able to fully support economic development, then we cannot have corruption at such a level as exists in ‘Palestine,’” Linde told Radio Sweden following her visit to Israel and the PA.
By World Israel News Staff
Sweden’s foreign minister visited Israel this week in an effort to mend ties after years in which the two countries have been at odds over the conflict with the Palestinians. The two spoke by phone last month in the first call between their countries’ top diplomats in seven years.
Sweden’s Social Democratic-led government recognized Palestinian statehood in 2014, making it the first large European country to do so since the end of the Cold War. Margot Wallstrom, the country’s former foreign minister, had made offensive statements against Israel, angering Israeli officials who refused to meet with her when she landed in the country in 2016.
Relations have changed since Wallstrom’s departure.
“This official visit marks a new beginning in the relationship between Israel and Sweden,” Foreign Minister Ann Linde stated upon her arrival in Israel on Sunday.
“We might not always agree, but good friends disagree,” she stated at a press conference in Jerusalem with her Israeli counterpart Monday. “And I think it’s really, really important that you know that Sweden is a friend of Israel.”
On Wednesday, following her visit this week to Jerusalem and Ramallah, she told Radio Sweden, “If we are to be able to fully support economic development, then we cannot have corruption at such a level as exists in ‘Palestine,’” Arutz-7 reported.
Last week, likely buoyed by Lapid’s comments over the years in favor of a Palestinian state, including in his role as foreign minister, Linde told Yediot Aharonot that she believes “the current government does want to promote a two-state solution.”
In an interview with Israel’s Channel 11 in August, for instance, Lapid said, “I want to separate from the Palestinians. I don’t have any interest in ruling over 2 million Palestinians in Gaza or 2.9 million in Judea and Samaria.”
He acknowledged that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is opposed to a two-state solution. Lapid, who also serves as Alternate Prime Minister, is due to take over the premiership in August 2023, as long as the government lasts.
Asked in the Channel 11 interview if a Palestinian state might be formed under his own premiership, Lapid said, “It could be.”
“The previous government did not want any relations with the Swedish government because of our recognition of ‘Palestine.’ I do not think it is a personal question, but more how the current government in Israel looks at ways to resolve quagmires,” Linde said in the Radio Sweden interview.
Linde began her trip to the Jewish state with a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, where she placed a wreath in memory of the 6 million Jews who were killed by Nazi Germany and its collaborators.
“On behalf of Sweden I promise that we say ‘Never again,’ and mean it. We will continue to take action to combat antisemitism in all its forms, to make sure that we never forget,” she stated.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.