Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallström who has been a vocal critic of Israel and even praised the UNESCO resolution which declared Israel an occupying power in Jerusalem, said her government acted properly by supporting the vote.
Wallström held that her country’s vote in favour of the UN cultural agency resolution was “balanced” and emphasized the importance of Jerusalem to the three monotheistic religions.
Speaking to reporters, Wallström explained that there was supposed to be a consensus among European countries in the vote but it had been broken. Sweden became the only European country to vote for the resolution, while the UK, Italy, Netherlands, Lithuania, Greece and Germany voted against.
Following the vote, the Swedish ambassador was summoned to a reprimand in the Foreign Ministry. But the Swedish move drew more criticism from many back in Sweden. The leader of the opposition Liberal Party, Jan Björklund, slammed the government saying “Sweden reached an agreement with the dictatorships of the Arab world, according to which it will come out with result in hostile statements against Israel. This is a disgusting move.”
Israel’s ambassador to Sweden, Isaac Bachman, attacked the Swedish government saying “Sweden has lost its moral compass.”
The Swedish foreign minister has made several controversial statements in the past including accusing Israel of conducting “extrajudicial executions” of Palestinians. She also implied that there was a connection between Islamist terrorism in Europe and the “desperate situation” of the Palestinians..
The Israeli government has twice refused to meet with the foreign minister when she travelled to the region.