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Sweden-Israel Rift Deepens Over Comments On Palestinian Deaths

Relations between Sweden and Israel hit a fresh low on Sunday after Israel said Sweden’s foreign minister had accused it of unlawful killings and Stockholm responded by saying that the comments had been “blown out of reasonable proportion”.

Relations between the two countries have nose-dived since Sweden’s Social Democrat-led government recognized a Palestinian state last year. Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom deepened the rift by describing Palestinians’ plight as a factor leading to Islamist radicalization.

In the latest row, Israel condemned as “scandalous” on Sunday what it said was a suggestion by Wallstrom its forces had unlawfully killed Palestinians involved in a surge of street violence, and warned of a diplomatic rupture with Stockholm.

Sweden said Wallstrom’s comments had been misunderstood.

“The Minister for Foreign Affairs did not, as alleged, say that extrajudicial executions occur in Israel,” Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven and Wallstrom said in a statement.

“The situation in the Middle East is difficult enough without having to be encumbered by misunderstandings about anybody’s intentions.”

In the latest violence in Jerusalem, on Sunday, a Palestinian rammed his car into a passer-by in a Jewish neighborhood, slightly injuring him, and then got out of the vehicle and stabbed another man, who suffered superficial wounds.

Security forces shot the attacker dead, police said.

Addressing Swedish lawmakers on Friday, Wallstrom denounced the almost daily Palestinian knife, gun or car-ramming attacks but urged Israel to avoid excessive force.

“And likewise, the response must not be of the kind — and this is what I say in other situations where the response is such that it results in extrajudicial executions or is disproportionate in that the number of people killed on that side exceeds the original number of deaths many times over,” Wallstrom said in the official English translation of her statement provided by the ministry.

Read more at Reuters

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