Israel slams Swedish FM’s ‘delusional’ extrajudicial executions claim

Foreign Ministry says such comments are a boon to terrorists, while Stockholm says Wallstrom was misquoted

Margot Wallstrom, Sweden's minister of foreign affairs, in her office in Stockholm, October 31, 2014 (AFP/Jonathan Nackstrand)
Margot Wallstrom, Sweden's minister of foreign affairs, in her office in Stockholm, October 31, 2014 (AFP/Jonathan Nackstrand)

Israel has responded furiously to claims by Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom that it is carrying out extrajudicial executions of Palestinian attackers, calling her comments “delusional.”

“It’s an outrageous statement. Delusional, impudent and detached from reality,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement, Haaretz reported late Friday night. “The foreign minister of Sweden is proposing that Israeli citizens present their necks to the very murderers who want to stick their knives in.”

Wallstrom on Friday told the Swedish parliament that Israel was conducting extrajudicial executions of Palestinian stabbers, Haaretz said.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry stressed that its citizens and security forces have the right to defend themselves against terrorism, and said its legal system guaranteed a fair judicial process for everyone.

“In Israel, every criminal is brought to court, including terrorists,” the Foreign Ministry said. “Israeli citizens are dealing with terrorism, which gets a boost from such irresponsible and mendacious statements.”

The Foreign Ministry in Stockholm issued a clarification of Wallstrom’s remarks, arguing that they had been misinterpreted.

“The foreign minister never said that Israel is carrying out extrajudicial executions,” said Wallstrom’s office. “The foreign minister made a general statement about international law and the right to self-defense, and the importance of proportionality and judiciousness. She was referring to both sides.”

Wallstrom made her remarks after three Swedish MPs accused the government of being biased toward the Palestinians and against Israel.

In response, she condemned stabbing attacks by Palestinians against Israelis, but added that Israel’s response was “disproportionate,” Haaretz reported. She cited as ostensible proof the higher number of Palestinian than Israeli casualties.

Israel’s response involved “extrajudicial executions,” she was quoted saying, and was “disproportionate, so the number of dead on the other side is greater than the original death toll by several degrees.”

Israel’s Ambassador to Sweden Yitzhak Bachman Lavie also condemned the remarks, saying that “Israel’s moral standards in its war on terror are just as high as those of other Western countries facing the same threat.”

Lavie said that Israel has been more successful than other Western countries in preventing harm to its civilians. “One should condemn and act to stop the perpetrators, the financiers and the inciters of terrorism,” he added. “If we focus on condemning and preventing terrorism there will be no need for self-defense.”

Sweden has been among the countries most critical of Israel’s handling of the conflict with the Palestinians. Following the November 13 attacks in Paris, in which terrorists killed 130 people, Wallstrom asserted that the attacks were rooted in the frustration of Muslims in the Middle East, including that of Palestinians.

Sweden recognized the state of Palestine on October 30, 2014, a move that was widely criticized by Israel.

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