During a discussion in the Swedish parliament about the ongoing wave of violence and terror attacks raging in Israel, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström accused Israel of killing Palestinians without a trial.
Swedish newspaper Expressen reported that three parliamentarians, led by Mathias Sundin, confronted her about her apparent bias against Israel. They asked her why she doesn’t condemn terror attacks by Palestinians against Israelis.
She responded, “I think it’s terrible, and it must not happen. Israel has the right to defend itself, to ensure its safety.” Wallström continued by stating the higher number of Palestinian deaths indicates Israel is executing Palestinians.
“And in the same way the response cannot be, and I say this in other situations as well, where the response becomes so that there are extrajudicial executions, or that it becomes disproportionate so the numbers of dead on the other side is greater than the original death toll by several factors,” she said.
Israeli Ambassador to Stockholm, Isaac Bachman, slammed Wallström for her false statements.
“Israel’s moral standards when it comes to fighting terrorism are at least at par with other Western nations coping with the same threat,” Bachman said. “Israeli practices are even more successful in avoiding civilian casualties than in other Western nations’ cases, according to verified military statistics.”
“The emphasis on how the victims of terror defend themselves is diverting the attention away from the true horrors of terrorism,” he continued. “Instead one should condemn and act to stop the perpetrators, the financers and the inciters of terrorism. If we focus on condemning and preventing terrorism there will be no need for self-defense.”
Israel’s Foreign Ministry also responded harshly to Wallström’s comments, calling them “outrageous” and “delusional.”
“This is an outrageous statement. Delusional, rude and detached from reality. The foreign minister is suggesting the citizens of Israel simply present their necks to the killers seeking to stab them with knives,” the ministry said in a statement. “The citizens of Israel and its security forces have the right to defend themselves. In Israel, every person who commits a crime is brought in front of a judge, including terrorists. The citizens of Israel have to deal with terrorism that receives support from irresponsible and false statements like that.”
Wallström’s press secretary Erik Wirkensjö defended the foreign minister to the press, clarifying that “the foreign minister did not say that Israel conducts ‘extrajudicial executions.’ The foreign minister made a general statement about international law and the right to self-defense and the importance of proportionality and distinction. What she stated applies to all parties.”
Wallström was the focus of Israeli ire last month when she connected the Islamic State (ISIS) attack in Paris to the situation in Israel with the Palestinians. During an interview on Swedish TV channel SVT2, , when asked to comment on the attacks, she stated: “To counteract the radicalization we must go back to the situation such as the one in the Middle East of which not the least the Palestinians see that there is no future: we must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence,” she said.
Her comments led to a small storm in the relations between Sweden and Israel. Relations between the two countries have taken a nosedive since Sweden recognized Palestine as a state on October 30, 2014.