SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)-The Israeli foreign ministry on Monday summoned Sweden’s ambassador to protest over Stockholm’s declared intention to recognize a Palestinian state.
Ambassador Carl Magnus Nesser was called in by the ministry’s deputy director general for Europe, Aviv Shir-On, who “protested and expressed Israel’s disappointment” after Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Loefven announced his intention to recognize Palestine, the ministry said.
Shir-On warned that such a move would “not contribute to the relations between Israel and the Palestinians, but in fact worsen them.”
The premier’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 has long insisted that the Palestinians can only receive their promised state through direct negotiations and not through other diplomatic channels.
He said the newly-elected Swedish premier’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, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and 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 recognize the State of Palestine,” Loefven said on Friday, without saying when the step would be taken.
PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi on Saturday said she welcomed Sweden’s decision and criticized Israel and the US’s reaction to the decision.
“Conditioning recognition of the State of Palestine on the outcome of negotiations with Israel is equivalent to making our right to self-determination an Israeli prerogative,” Ashrawi said in a statement.
“This fails to address the very basis of the values upon which the United Nations was founded, including its responsibility to protect and act accordingly. We call upon all those countries who haven’t recognized the State of Palestine to do so as an investment in peace, as well as a long overdue right of the Palestinian people.”
Sweden voted in favor of the Palestinians obtaining the rank of observer state at the United Nations in 2012, which was granted despite opposition from the United States, Israel, and other countries.