Liberman Refuses to Meet with Swedish Counterpart

In a political move responding to anti-Israel policy across Europe, FM Liberman has refused to meet with Swedish FM on her visit to Israel.

Cynthia Blank,

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Foreign Minister and Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Liberman announced Wednesday evening that he is boycotting any meeting with the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Margot Wallstrom. 

Liberman's actions can be viewed as one of Israel's first political reactions to the policy wave against Israel seen in the European Union, parliaments across Europe, and the United Nations. 

On Wednesday, the European Parliament formally recognized the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a state "in principle."

Liberman slammed the decision in a press conference Wednesday evening, calling it "counterproductive" to peace.  

He stated: "The decisions made today by the European Union do not contribute to improving the situation in the Middle East, nor do they improve the situation between the Israelis and the Palestinians." 

"Any attempt to place pressure on Israel will only undermine all our efforts to bring [a] comprehensive, reasonable solution to the Middle East," he continued. "We think it's crucial to place the same pressure on the Palestinians." 

Additionally, on Wednesday, Luxembourg's parliament voted to urge its government to recognize a Palestinian state, following the trend of several other European nations, including the United Kingdom, France and Spain. 

While a growing list of European countries' parliaments have voted to encourage their governments to recognize a Palestinian state, Sweden's government is the first to officially do so. Hence, Liberman's refusal to meet with Wallstrom during her visit to Israel next month. 

The announcement of Sweden's recognition of Palestine in late October saw withering verbal jabs about IKEA furniture between Liberman and Wallstrom as well as Swedish financial institutions boycotting Israeli companies. 

And now the Foreign Minister claims that the Swedes hid their real intentions for recognizing a Palestinian and would not listen to any of Israel's argument. This, he argued, was contrary to other European parliaments, who while in the end did vote to recognize Palestine, at least listened to the claims of Israeli representatives. 

Against the background of what appears to be the beginning of a political tsunami before March elections, Liberman, Labor Chairman Yitzhak Herzog, and Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid, have all blamed Wednesday's events on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's political stagnation. 

According to the three leading politicians, when you are not proactive, you are attacked. 

Netanyahu's associates responded by saying that whoever thinks being proactive means jumping off a cliff, does not understand the policies of the Prime Minister. 


More Arutz Sheva videos:


top