STOCKHOLM: Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom on Tuesday called for “thorough” investigations into the killing of Palestinians by the Israeli army in recent months.
Wallstrom was responding to a question in parliament by an opposition member on the controversy raised last month by her statement on the need for Israel to avoid “extrajudicial executions”.
She was referring then to the more than 100 Palestinians killed in two months, most while committing or attempting to commit knife attacks in Israel and the Palestinian territories, and others in clashes or attacks.
“It is essential that thorough and credible investigations be conducted concerning these deaths with the aim of providing clarity and bringing about possible accountability,” Wallstrom said on Tuesday.
Ties between Israel and Sweden plummeted after Stockholm recognised the Palestinian state shortly after Wallstrom’s centre-left Social Democrats won a parliamentary election in 2014.
A day after the Paris attacks claimed by the Islamic State group, Wallstrom again attracted Israeli condemnation when she said the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict was a factor of radicalisation.
The Israeli foreign ministry said then that Wallstrom “has consistently demonstrated bias against Israel”.
Since October 1, Israeli forces or armed civilians have killed at least 142 Palestinians, 90 of whom the authorities have described as assailants. Most others have been killed in clashes with security forces.
The surge in violence has been fueled by the 2014 collapse of US-sponsored peace talks, the growth of Jewish settlements on land Palestinians want for a state and calls for the destruction of Israel.
Also stoking the violence has been Muslim opposition to increased Israeli visits to Jerusalem’s al Aqsa mosque complex, which is the third holiest site in Islam and is also revered in Judaism as the location of two biblical temples.