JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel described on Monday as “appallingly impudent” comments by Sweden’s foreign minister that it interpreted as an attempt to link the Islamic State attacks in Paris to the plight of Palestinians under Israeli occupation.
Sweden’s ambassador to Israel was summoned to the Israeli Foreign Ministry to explain the remarks Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom made on Saturday to Swedish state broadcaster SVT.
Asked if she was concerned about the radicalization of young people in Sweden who are fighting for Islamic State, Wallstrom said: “Clearly we have a reason to be worried not only here in Sweden but around the world because there are so many who are being radicalized.
“Here again, you come back to situations like that in the Middle East where not least the Palestinians see that there isn’t any future (for them). (The Palestinians) either have to accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.”
Israel has been vocal in contending that Islamic State’s offensives in the Middle East, attacks on the West and radical religious doctrine are unrelated to the decades-old conflict with the Palestinians.
In a statement, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon accused Wallstrom of having consistently shown anti-Israeli bias.
“The Swedish foreign minister’s statements are appallingly impudent,” Nahshon said. “(She) demonstrates genuine hostility when she points to a connection of any kind between the terror attacks in Paris and the complex situation between Israel and the Palestinians.”
A spokesman for Wallstrom said the foreign minister was not talking about the attacks in Paris when she commented on the Palestinians, and that the remarks came in another part of the interview that focused on factors leading to radicalization.
Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the carnage on Friday in Paris that killed 129 people. The group said the attacks were in retaliation for French airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.
Reporting by Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem and Daniel Dickson in Stockholm; Editing by Mark Trevelyan