12/13/2016

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, known for her anti-Israel statements, is visiting the region but will not meet Israeli officials.

Israel is boycotting Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom’s upcoming visit to Israel due to her past anti-Israel statements, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported on Monday.

According to the report, Wallstrom will arrive in the region on Thursday, but will not meet Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who also serves as Foreign Minister, or any other Israeli minister.

The Swedish Minister reportedly sought to hold meetings with Netanyahu and other Cabinet ministers during her visit, and was told that their schedules do not allow for such meetings. Sources, however, told Yedioth Ahronoth that Wallstrom in fact is not welcomed in Israel.

The newspaper noted that, despite not having meetings scheduled with Israeli officials, the Swedish Foreign Minister decided to visit the region anyway and meet with Palestinian Authority (PA) officials.

Wallstrom has several times in the past caused an uproar in Israel with her statements. In 2014, then-Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman denounced Sweden’s decision to recognize the PA as “the State of Palestine”, saying that “relations in the Middle East are a lot more complex than the self-assembly furniture of IKEA”.

Wallstrom later replied and said she would be “happy” to send Liberman some IKEA furniture “and he will also see that what you need to put that together is, first of all, a partner.”

Following that incident, Wallstrom accused Israel of being “extremely aggressive” and accused the Jewish state of “irritating its allies”.

In December of 2015, she attacked Israel again, claiming during a debate in parliament that Israel was “executing” without trial terrorists who carried out stabbing attacks in Israel.

Several weeks before that, the Swedish minister provoked a firestorm of criticism, when she appeared to blame the terrorist attacks in Paris on “Palestinian frustration” with Israel.

In January, shortly after Wallstrom’s remarks, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely announced that Swedish officials are no longer welcome to visit Israel.