Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom caused friction between her country and Israel with comments she made Friday that drew a connection between the Palestinian conflict and Islamist extremism. Her remarks angered Israelis, and the director of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Dore Gold, summoned the Swedish ambassador Monday to discuss Wallstrom’s comments.
Speaking to a Swedish TV channel shortly after the massacre in Paris, the foreign minister indicated she is concerned that Swedish youth will be radicalized to fight for the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and that the situation reminds her of Palestinians who resort to violence because they see no future for themselves.
“Of course we have cause for concern, not just in Sweden but throughout the world, because there are so many being radicalized,” Wallstrom said. “And again, it reminds us of the situation in the Middle East, where the Palestinians see that there is no future for them and have to either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.”
Wallstrom later released an official response condemning the Paris attacks, which claimed the lives of at least 129 people and wounded hundreds.
The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem released a strong response to Wallstrom, saying that her “statements are appallingly imprudent,” and that she “demonstrates genuine hostility when she points to a connection of any kind between the terror attacks in Paris and the complex situation between Israel and the Palestinians.”
Sweden was the first European Union member to recognize Palestinian statehood, which it did in October of last year.
Sweden’s government also received a threat Monday from an unspecified source. It was not immediately clear if the threat was connected to either the Paris terror attacks or Wallstrom's remarks.