Swedish Gov’t Stumbles to Clarify Remarks Linking Palestinian Conflict to ISIS

Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of Kristian Pohl / Government Offices of Sweden

Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström. Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of Kristian Pohl / Government Offices of Sweden

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström inadvertently linked the Palestinian conflict with Israel to the group behind the Paris terror attacks. Then her office clarified, but still managed to implicitly justify the motives behind Palestinian terrorism. In an interview with Swedish Television on Saturday after the Paris terror, Wallström was asked about her concerns regarding the radicalization of Swedes to fight for ISIS (ISIL). Radio Sweden translated her response in their report, in which she somehow shifted from Sweden to Israel.

Said the Swedish diplomat, “Yes, of course we have reason to worry, not just in Sweden, but around the world about the fact that so many are being radicalized. And here, again, you come back to situations like the one in the Middle East where not least the Palestinians feel like there is no future. They feel like they either have to accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.” Israel was outraged over the implied link between the Palestinian conflict and ISIS terrorism, and the Swedes only partly fixed their error.

The Swedish Foreign Ministry, in a statement posted to their website, said Wallström was not linking the Paris attacks to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. But then the statement only reinforced the Swedish implication that Palestinian terrorism has a cause that is understandable instead of appalling.

“The Minister’s quotation was taken from a long interview and the quotation is part of an interview about radicalization in general and the root causes of terrorism,” said the statement. “The Minister has been very clear in her condemnation of terrorism and about the importance of us now focusing our efforts on standing up for the values that democracies represent.”

While condemning terrorism, the statement failure to clarify the motives-element of the comments implied again that a “desperate situation” is the “root causes” of Palestinian terrorism, rather than extremist ideology or hatred.

Prior to the Swedish effort to clarify Wallström’s comments, Israel’s Foreign Ministry slammed the implications behind her comments. In a statement posted to their website, the Israeli Foreign Ministry called them “appallingly impudent.”

“Whoever fatuously attempts to create a link between radical Islamist attacks and the current problems between Israel and the Palestinians is fooling himself, his people and international public opinion,” said the Israeli statement. The remarks noted that Wallström has “consistently demonstrated bias against Israel.”

Israel summoned the Swedish ambassador following the statements by Wallström.

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, November 16, 2015)

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