Margot Wallström is no longer a government minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs

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This content was published in the period between

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Speech from

Statement by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström on developments in Israel and Palestine

Published

Developments in Israel and Palestine are deeply troubling. October and November were the bloodiest months in more than a decade in Israel, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In a situation where violence and hopelessness are increasing and the rhetoric is becoming more strident, it is even more important to uphold dialogue and diplomacy as our foremost tools.

Against this backdrop, it is unfortunate that statements on the situation in the Middle East by representatives of the Swedish Government are misunderstood and blown out of reasonable proportion. The most recent misunderstanding concerns the interpellation debate in the Swedish Riksdag on Friday. The Minister for Foreign Affairs did not, as alleged, say that extrajudicial executions occur in Israel; she talked in general terms about principles of international law concerning the right of self-defence and the importance of the principles of proportionality and distinction.

The situation in the Middle East is difficult enough without having to be encumbered by misunderstandings about anybody's intentions. And it is unfortunate when strong reactions are based on false premises.

The Government completely rejects violence against civilians. All acts of terrorism are despicable and must be universally condemned. We seek good relations with both Israel and Palestine. This includes our desire to deepen and develop our relations with Israel.

The Government's support for a two-state solution in the Middle East peace process is based on the aim that Israel and Palestine will be able to live side by side in peace and security. Israel's security, and our bilateral relationship with Israel, are fundamental components of our commitment to the peace process. We in Sweden seek to be a friend to both Israel and Palestine, while expressing ourselves clearly on issues where there is disagreement.