Sweden’s FM demands investigation of ‘extrajudicial executions’ by Israel


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Days after Israeli security forces killed an Arab-Israeli fugitive in a shootout, Sweden’s foreign minister called for an investigation of Israel’s killing of Palestinian attackers and a controversial Arab-Israeli Knesset member said the fugitive’s killers should be prosecuted.

Israeli officials quickly condemned Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom’s remarks made Tuesday in a parliamentary debate.

Wallstrom said it is “vital that there is a thorough, credible investigation into these deaths in order to clarify and bring about possible accountability,” according to Reuters.

In a statement the same day, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said Wallstrom’s comments are “irresponsible and delusional” and “encourage violence and terrorism,” according to the Times of Israel.

In November, Wallstrom linked the Paris terrorist attacks that killed 130, which were blamed on the Islamic State, to perceived hopelessness among the Palestinians.

Over 130 Palestinians have been killed during the recent wave of violence that began in October, most while perpetrating or attempting attacks, and others in violent clashes with security forces. Twenty-one Israelis and an American studying in Israel at a yeshiva have been killed in the attacks.

On Monday, Hanin Zoabi of the Joint Arab List party in Israel described the killing of fugitive Nashat Melhem, who is believed to be the gunman who shot dead three people in Tel Aviv on Jan. 1, as a “liquidation, because the security forces could have arrested him,” the Times of Israel reported.

Zoabi is known for her inflammatory remarks. At a Kristallnacht event in Amsterdam in November, she compared Israel to the Nazis.

Israeli officials have said security forces are justified in killing suspected attackers because trying to neutralize them without killing them would pose unnecessary risk. However, some human rights organizations and pro-Palestinian groups have said Israeli police and soldiers are too quick to kill alleged perpetrators and should instead make more efforts to subdue and arrest them.

According to the Times of Israel, Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog said it was “interesting Sweden didn’t respond in the same way when the Paris police killed the terrorists, as they should have.”

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