Deputy FM bans Swedish officials from visiting Israel
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) took a group of Foreign Ministry cadets on tour of Judea and Samaria on Wednesday, and while there told the future ambassadors that Swedish officials are no longer welcome to visit Israel.
Hotovely met up with the cadets at Peduel in Samaria, just over the 1949 Armistice lines, and spoke to them at the “porch of the nation,” a site offering an impressive outlook over the coastal region.
She referenced Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom’s latest remarks against Israel on Tuesday, in which Wallstrom accused the Jewish state of “executing” Arab terrorists in an attempt to delegitimize the actions of security forces.
The killing of terrorists as they are in the midst of an attack is often a matter of life or death in preventing prevent further victims, as in many cases the terrorists continue attacking after being shot.
“For over two years the relations with Sweden have been at a certain level of disconnection,” Hotovely told the cadets. “That is to say that we refuse visits by the Swedish Foreign Minister in Israel.”
“In the clearest manner possible the state of Israel is giving a very sharp message to Sweden that says ‘you are backing terror, you are giving a tail wind to Daesh (Islamic State) to act throughout Europe. In Brussels. In Paris. We saw yesterday in Istanbul.”
“Closing the doors”
Hotovely said Israel is on the front lines fighting terrorism, and Sweden “in essence is backing it and giving it a tail wind, and the state of Israel in this regard is giving a very sharp message to these sources,” noting how the Swedes fail to understand “which side is fighting terror and…really wants to preserve human life.”
“In my eyes these statements are a bad mix of stupidity and diplomatic foolishness, and the state of Israel in this context is closing the doors to Sweden against official visits in Israel,” she added, in a response to Wallstrom’s words.
Hotovely spoke with Arutz Sheva during the event, and stressed the importance of having the future Foreign Ministry officials be familiar with Jewish history in the region of Judea and Samaria, noting that history goes back nearly 4,000 years.
The legality of the Jewish presence in the Jewish heartland of Judea and Samaria has been backed up by the courts, she said, and noted Jewish communities only constitute 3% of the land in the region.
“This is not an obstacle to peace, terror is the real obstacle to peace,” she emphasized.
“The world is divided into people surrendering to terrorism and people fighting terrorism, and the Swedish approach at the moment is supporting terrorism,” she said, adding that this approach will lead to disaster because radical Islam also targets Europe and “any democratic society.”