Israel described on Monday as “appallingly impudent” comments by Sweden’s foreign minister that it interpreted as an attempt to link the Islamic State attacks in Paris to the situation of Palestinians.
Sweden’s ambassador to Israel was summoned to the Israeli Foreign Ministry to explain the remarks that Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom made to Swedish state broadcaster SVT.
Asked if she were concerned about the radicalization of young people in Sweden who are fighting for Islamic State, Wallstrom said: “Clearly we have a reason to be worried not only here in Sweden but around the world because there are so many who are being radicalized.
“Here again, you come back to situations like that in the Middle East where not least the Palestinians see that there isn’t any future [for them]. [The Palestinians] either have to accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.”
In a statement, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon accused Wallstrom of having consistently shown anti-Israeli bias.
“The Swedish foreign minister’s statements are appallingly impudent,” Nahshon said. “[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.”
A Wallstrom spokesman said the foreign minister’s comment was taken out of context by the broadcaster.
“In the interview which is referred to, no implication or reference was made that implied that the Israeli Palestinian conflict had any relevance for the tragic events in Paris. We condemn all acts of terror. We must now unite as democracies to fight for our common values in these challenging times.”
Israel did not accept the clarification.
“Those who engage in hopeless attempts to link the terror attacks by Islamic extremists with the difficulties between Israelis and Palestinians are misleading themselves as well as the public opinion of their country and the international community,” the Foreign Ministry stated.
Wallstrom’s words that connected the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the Paris attacks were “brazen” and “shocking,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Meanwhile, Fatah published two scurrilous cartoons explicitly linking Israel and Jews to the Paris attacks.
One cartoon shows a grinning Prime Minister Netanyahu watching Paris from a balcony with a telescope with a grinning ISIS terrorist beside him with an assault rifle. A second cartoon shows a matchbox labelled terrorism with two matches: the head of one match depicts the face of an ISIS fighter and the head of the other match shows the head of an Orthodox Jew.
In addition, an opinion piece in the official Palestinian Authority daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida accused the Mossad of being behind the attacks in Paris.
The writer opined that it was a reprisal for the recent approval of EU guidelines for labeling of products from Yehudah and Shomron.