Israel fumes after Swedish FM slams ‘extrajudicial executions’ of Palestinians in ongoing violence

© Mohamad Torokman
PM Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned the statement of Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom who had earlier claimed that Israel resorted to unlawful killings of Palestinians involved in the ongoing wave of violence.

“The response [to Palestinian stabbing and car-ramming attacks] 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 on Friday addressing Swedish lawmakers.

This statement of the Swedish official caused a highly negative reaction in Israel.

“I condemn the statements, the scandalous statements, made by the foreign minister of Sweden,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday, as cited by Israel Hayom newspaper.

"The [Swedish] foreign minister suggests that Israeli citizens simply give their necks to the murderers trying to stab them with knives. The citizens of Israel and its security forces have the right to defend themselves,” he added.

Netanyahu also claimed that everybody who commits a crime in Israel is brought in front of a judge.

“The citizens of Israel have to deal with terrorism that receives support from irresponsible and false statements like that,” Netanyahu said.

Tzipi Hotovely, Deputy Foreign Minister, said that she is going to have a meeting with Netanyahu who is also a foreign minister of Israel to work out “sharp response” to the Wallstrom’s statement. She hinted that one of the possible measures against Sweden may be its exclusion from the Israel-Palestinian peace process.

"Sweden has crossed all red lines in relations with Israel. This is defamation of Israel and the statements are distancing Sweden from the ranks of enlightened nations that can take part in the dialogue about rights in the region,” Hotovely told Army Radio.

The Swedish Foreign Ministry tried to smoothen the situation on Saturday by issuing the statement which said the minister did not mean that Israel conducted 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,” the statement said.

The current wave of violence between Israelis and Palestinian erupted at the beginning of October when Israel tried to restrict access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem. Since then, at least 102 Palestinians have been killed, most of whom are said to have been perpetrators of attacks on Israelis, as well as 19 Israelis and an American student, according to Reuters.