Reply to interpellation 2015/16:258 by Jan Björklund (Liberal Party)

Statement in the Riksdag 12 January 2016 in reply to interpellation 2015/16:258 by Jan Björklund (Liberal Party).

Mr/Madam Speaker

Jan Björklund has asked me which extrajudicial executions I was alluding to in the debate in the Chamber on 4 December 2015.

The interpellation debate on 4 December 2015 took place against the background of the developments in the two preceding months, which were characterised by violence of a type and intensity not seen in ten years in Israel and on the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. To repeat what I said in my interpellation reply: during these two months, 21 Israelis and 100 Palestinians were killed in connection with knife attacks, acts of violence, demonstrations and clashes. In October alone, 115 Israelis and 7 392 Palestinians were injured, approximately 5 000 of whom were injured in tear gas attacks.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein issued a statement already on 28 October where he indicated that the Israeli response has been reported as being disproportionate to the extent that extrajudicial killing could be strongly suspected. Human rights organisations and international law experts have also expressed similar fears. It is essential that thorough and credible investigations be conducted concerning these deaths with the aim of providing clarity and bringing about possible accountability.

I have, likewise, warned of the implications of disproportionate use of force. As I have made it clear previously in a number of contexts, including on 6 December in a joint statement with the Prime Minister, in that particular debate in the Chamber, I was making an argument based on principles of international law concerning the right of self-defence and the importance of the principles of proportionality and distinction. In this context, as on many other occasions last autumn, I was very clear in condemning the acts of violence carried out by Palestinians against Israelis.

The use of violence – also during occupation – is strictly regulated in international law. All those involved should do their utmost to avoid the use of disproportionate violence. The current situation is untenable. The violence must stop.