Israel has denounced remarks by Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, saying on Saturday that she accused it of carrying out “extrajudicial executions” in response to attacks by Palestinians using knives.
In Stockholm on Friday, speaking to members of parliament, Wallstrom condemned such attacks but also criticised Israel’s response.
In a wave of protesting and clashes between the Palestinians and Israeli troops, Israel have killed 106 Palestinians since the first of October, according to the Palestinian Ministery of Health.
The current wave of protests by Palestinians and repression by Israeli occupation forces started in late July when toddler Ali Dawabsha was burned to death and three other Palestinians were severely injured after their house in the occupied West Bank was set on fire by Israeli settlers.
Palestinian protests were also triggered by an increase in Jewish settlers attacks on Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is considered the third holiest site in Islam.
Settlement-building, racial discrimination, confiscation of identity cards, long queues at checkpoints, as well as daily clashes and the desecration of Al-Aqsa mosque, have been Palestinians’ daily routine.
The anger of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem has increased in the last three years after the Israeli authorities allowed increasing numbers of Jewish settlers to storm the Al-Aqsa mosque.
I condemn the knife attacks. I think they are horrendous and they mustn’t be allowed to happen, and Israel always has the right to defend itself, to ensure its security,” Wallstrom told the Swedish MPs.
“And likewise, the response must not be of the kind — and this is what I say in other situations where the response is such that it results in extrajudicial executions or is disproportionate in that the number of people killed on that side exceeds the original number of deaths many times over.”
Emmanuel Nahshon, a spokesman for Israel’s foreign ministry, said late Friday: “The declaration is scandalous, untruthful, impudent and detached from reality.
“The foreign minister suggests that Israeli citizens offer up their necks to the murderers looking to stab them,” he said.
“In Israel, any person who commits a crime appears before court, including terrorists,” Nahshon added.
On Saturday, a spokesman for Wallstrom denied Israel’s accusation.
“The foreign minister did not say that Israel conducts ‘extrajudicial executions’,” he said, adding that the Swedish foreign minister made a general statement about international law and the right to defend.
However, the Israeli foreign ministry said Wallstrom “has consistently demonstrated bias against Israel”.