Israeli officials to snub Swedish foreign minister


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Top Israeli officials said they will be too busy to meet with Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom during her visit to the country — reportedly an intentional snub over her vocal criticism of the Jewish state.

Wallstrom is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Thursday and had planned to meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials. But with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials declining to meet, Wallstrom reportedly will only meet with Palestinian officials in the West Bank. Netanyahu holds the foreign minister’s portfolio and as such is Wallstrom’s counterpart.

In January, Wallstrom accused Israel of extrajudicial killings and called for an investigation into Israel’s killing of Palestinian attackers during the attacks.

Following the accusation, Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon told The Associated Press that “given the incendiary and aggressive nature” of Wallstrom’s comments, “We have made it clear that she is not welcome in Israel.”

In November 2015, Wallstrom linked the Paris terrorist attacks that killed 130, which were blamed on the Islamic State, to perceived hopelessness among the Palestinians.

Sweden recognized a Palestinian state in 2014.

Sweden will begin a two-year term on the United Nations Security Council on Jan. 1, and will hold the rotating presidency of the Security Council next month, when the Palestinians reportedly will bring an anti-settlements resolution to the council.

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