Sweden calls for investigation into Israeli violence

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom calls for investigation into Israeli violence against Palestinians

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom during a news conference in Riga on January 23, 2015

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom called for an investigation on Tuesday to determine whether Israel was guilty of extrajudicial killings of Palestinians during recent violence in the country, local media said.

Wallstrom’s demand for inquiry was the latest in a series of statements by her that irked Israeli authorities. Relations between Sweden and Israel were strained after Sweden recognised the Palestine state shortly after Wallstrom’s centre-left Social Democrats won general elections in 2014.

Relations then got worse as Wallstrom described the Palestinians’ plight as a factor that has caused unrest in the country.

"It is vital that there is a thorough, credible investigation into these deaths in order to clarify and bring about possible accountability," Wallstrom said during a parliamentary debate.

Rights groups have accused Israel of using excessive force to quell the unrest.

The European Union, the United Nations and the United States all expressed their concern saying that although they recognised Israel’s right to self-defence, restraint would be necessary to ensure the violence does not escalate further.

2015 witnessed the killing of 178 Palestinians, most of whom were accused of attempting attacks on Israelis, while 23 Israelis were also killed in the same period, most of whom were soldiers.

With the latest killing of two Palestinians, nearly 10 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces so far in 2016.

Palestinians say the recent violence is the result of frustration from nearly half-a-century of occupation and they accuse Israel of using excessive force to suppress the unrest, while Israel says the unrest has been caused by a Palestinian campaign of provocation surrounding the Muslim holy site of Al Aqsa Mosque.

TRTWorld and agencies