Swedish Foreign Minister tweets about trip to 'Palestine'

Swedish Foreign Minister calls for action to "save the two state solution" after meeting with PA officials in Ramallah.

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Elad Benari,

Margot Wallstrom
Margot Wallstrom
Reuters

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, who was refused meetings with Israeli ministers during her visit to the region, on Saturday tweeted about her visit to “Palestine”.

“Returning from Palestine. Action is needed to save the two state solution. Settlements and demolitions thwart conditions and hope for peace,” tweeted Wallstrom, who visited Ramallah and met with Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki.

The Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported that during her visit to Ramallah, Abbas decorated the Swedish minister with an award he calls the Grand Star of the Order of Jerusalem.

Speaking in a press conference during the visit, Wallstrom said, "Sweden's policy was aimed at creating a future in which Israel and Palestine can live side by side. It is deeply worrying that Palestinians are beginning to lose hope in the future after 50 years of occupation.”

Israeli officials had refused to meet Wallstrom during her visit to Israel, despite her requesting such meetings, due to her harsh anti-Israel statements in the past.

In 2014, then-Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman denounced Sweden’s decision to recognize the PA as "the State of Palestine", saying that “relations in the Middle East are a lot more complex than the self-assembly furniture of IKEA”.

Wallstrom later replied and said she would be “happy” to send Liberman some IKEA furniture “and he will also see that what you need to put that together is, first of all, a partner.”

Following that incident, Wallstrom accused Israel of being “extremely aggressive” and accused the Jewish state of “irritating its allies”.

In December of 2015, she attacked Israel again, claiming during a debate in parliament that Israel was “executing” without trial terrorists who carried out stabbing attacks in Israel.

Several weeks before that, the Swedish minister provoked a firestorm of criticism, when she appeared to blame the terrorist attacks in Paris on "Palestinian frustration" with Israel.

Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Wallstrom addressed Israeli officials' refusal to meet with her during her Ramallah visit.

"From the beginning, I asked to visit Israel. It is important to have dialogue also with those who do not share the same opinion. Unfortunately it was not possible," she said.