Israeli officials will reportedly boycott Margot Wallström, the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, who is making an official visit to Tel Aviv and Ramallah on Thursday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is refusing to meet with Wallström, and a high-ranking Israeli official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was quoted saying, “No Israeli official will meet with Wallström and her visit will be limited to meeting Palestinian officials in Ramallah.”
Israeli sources claimed Wallström sought to meet with Netanyahu but the latter refused to meet with her, sending her a clear message that “she is a persona non-grata.”
— Jewish Community (@JComm_BlogFeeds) December 13, 2016
The diplomatic relationship between Israel and Sweden has seen a setback in the last few years, mostly after the formation of the new Swedish government in 2014 and its recognition of the State of Palestine.
Following the Swedish recognition, Israel’s Foreign Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman had said, “Sweden should realize that the situation in the Middle East is more complicated than assembling IKEA furniture,” referring to the famous-Swede furniture brand.
Israel’s anger with Sweden has also to do with Sweden’s role in labeling products manufactured in Israeli illegal settlements in the West Bank.
— Ben (@benghand) December 13, 2016
Following the outbreak of the current Palestinian uprising in the West Bank, Wallström has made remarks in which she said that she understands why young Palestinians carry out stabbing attacks against Israelis, urging Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
Wallström was supposed to visit Israel and the Palestinian Territories last year, but she cancelled the visit after Israeli officials refused to meet with her at the time.
(SAMA. PC, Social Media)