Not for the first time, Israel is boycotting Sweden’s top diplomat, who represents one of the world’s most diplomatically hostile countries towards the Jewish state.
Israeli officials have reportedly refused to receive Sweden’s foreign minister Margot Wallstrom, saying she is not welcome since making several offensive remarks about the Jewish State, such as accusing Israel of randomly executing innocent Palestinians.
Israeli media sites reported Tuesday that Wallstrom had submitted a request to meet with the Israeli leadership, which was declined.
The official reason given was timetable constraints, but reports quoted senior officials saying that Wallstrom is considered to be persona-non-grata in Jerusalem.
However, Wallstrom will arrive at Palestinian Authority (PA) headquarters in Ramallah on Thursday and meet with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
This is not the first time Wallstrom was refused an audience by Israel’s leadership. In January 2015, then Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman declined to meet with her, leading to cancellation of her trip.
A year later, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely announced that Jerusalem was banning all visits by Swedish diplomats to the Jewish state in response to the Swedish foreign minister’s repeated allegations against Israel and Stockholm’s biased policies.
“In the clearest manner possible, the State of Israel is conveying a very sharp message to Sweden, which says: ‘You are backing terror, you are giving ISIS a tail wind to operate throughout Europe,” Hotovely stated.
Hotovely said she viewed Wallstrom’s remarks as “a bad mix of stupidity and diplomatic foolishness, and the State of Israel was closing the doors” to Sweden’s official visits.
Sweden’s relations with Israel have been strained since the Social Democratic-led government in 2014 recognized Palestinian statehood, and Wallstrom’s comments on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have elicited angry responses from Israeli officials.
Wallstrom has repeatedly accused Israel of extrajudicial executions of Palestinians and expressed understanding for acts of terrorism against the Jewish state. Likewise, Sweden’s Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven, claimed that Palestinian stabbing attacks do not constitute “terrorism.”
By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News