Israel Would Not Provide Security for Swedish FM

Government source reveals that Wallstrom's cancellation and fury with Israel stem from gov't's refusal to provide security on her trip.

Cynthia Blank ,

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom
Reuters

Thanks to the revelations shared by a high-ranking government official, Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallstrom's motives for indefinitely postponing a planned trip to Israel and accusing Israel of "overreacting" and "aggressiveness," may have become clear. 

The official revealed to Yediot Aharonot Saturday that Wallstrom canceled her trip after she was notified she would have to provide her own security personnel and that her trip would not be considered an official state visit. 

Israel made the latter aspect clear enough on Thursday when Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon, in an interview with Swedish Radio, said Wallstrom was not welcome. 

According to the government source, Israel's government created many obstacles for the Foreign Minister, eventually spurring her to cancel the trip. 

Wallstrom planned to visit Israel for a memorial ceremony for Raoul Wallenberg, as wall as to visit the territories in Judea and Samaria governed by the Palestinian Authority. 

However, the government source noted that Wallstrom tried to force her visit in spite of "hints" that she was considered persona non grata by the Israeli government. 

At first, Israel openly told Wallstrom that the President, Prime Minister, and Foreign Minister would not be able to meet with her. Then, when Stockholm inquired who would provide security for the Swedish FM, the Jerusalem office responded that the Swedish delegation must provide their own. 

Apparently, Israel's tactics worked and the Swedes announced the trip would be reschedule for a later date due to "scheduling constraints." 

Strained relations between Israel and Sweden started in late October with Sweden's recognition of "Palestine" - which infuriated Israel. 

Withering verbal jabs about IKEA furniture between Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Wallstrom ensued, as well as Swedish financial institutions boycotting Israeli companies. 

Israel also temporarily recalled to Israel its ambassador to Stockholm before sending him back on November 29. 

On Friday, Wallstrom criticized Israel, arguing that its "over-reaction" to Sweden's recognition of "Palestine" had irritated close allies

"It is unacceptable how they have been talking about us and everybody else. It has irritated not only us, but the Americans and everyone who has anything to do with them right now."

A senior diplomatic official waved off Wallstrom's criticism calling it a testament to "injustice" and adding that the Swedes were "feigning ignorance." 

"The Swedes know very well we are angry about their decision. This precedent of Sweden, which claims to be a peace-seeking country, is a strong statement that could lead others to make similar moves. We made clear to them that even after the ambassador returned to Stockholm, the anger remained."

"What were they thinking? That we'd roll out the red carpet for the Swedish Foreign Minister after this kind of behavior?"

"The Swedes didn't get the hint that we didn't want her to visit at this time, certainly not during election time. They decided it didn't work for them and insisted on coming. They tried to force a visit on us. It was clear to us they wanted to reap the fruits of their decision with the Palestinians," the official added. 



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