Swedish journalists wait for Israeli press credentials


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Two journalists for a Swedish newspaper that printed an article claiming the Israeli army harvested Palestinians organs will have to wait for Israeli press credentials.

The reporter and cameraman from the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet were told Sunday when they applied for press accreditation that the process could take up to 90 days and that the newspaper’s decision to run the organ harvesting article last week will be taken into consideration when the request is considered, according to reports.

"We have no duty to supply them with press cards immediately; we have 90 days to decide about their status," Danny Seaman, the head of the government press office, told CNN.

The opinion piece "They plunder the organs of our sons," by freelance journalist Donald Bostrom, appeared in a two-page spread Tuesday.

The Swedish Embassy in Tel Aviv had released a statement calling the report "appalling," but Sweden’s foreign ministry Thursday retracted the statement and has refused to condemn the article, saying that Sweden maintains freedom of the press.

The battle over the article was ratcheted up a notch Sunday when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, before the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting, that "we demand and expect a formal condemnation by the Swedish government, and not an apology for the claims."

Netanyahu’s demand follows a statement released Thursday by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, which compared the Swedish government’s silence over the article to its lack of intervention during the Holocaust.

The head of the Jewish community in Stockholm, Lena Posner, told Ynet that Israel is responsible for inflaming the situation. 

"The article was published here on Monday, but no one paid any attention to it. It wasn’t a news report and was buried in the back pages of a tabloid. The writer is known to many of us as anti-Israel, and so is the entire paper. This is why no one took it seriously — until Israel got involved," Posner told Ynet. Posner is also president of the Official Council of Jewish Communities in Sweden.

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