Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman. (Photo: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90) Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman. (Photo: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)

Sweden became the third country to officially recognize “Palestine,” prompting Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman to point out that Middle East relations cannot be snapped together like cheap furniture from the Swedish company IKEA and warning that premature solutions are not likely to last.  

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman stated Thursday that the Swedish government’s recognition of a Palestinian state is “an unfortunate decision which strengthens radical elements and Palestinian recalcitrance.”

“Such measures only serve to bolster the Palestinians’ unrealistic demands and delay an agreement,” Liberman said. “The only way to reach an arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians is for the parties to conduct sincere negotiations.”

Recognizing a Non-Existing State

“It is unfortunate that the Swedish government chose to adopt a declarative measure that can cause much damage and bring no benefit. The Swedish government must understand that relations in the Middle East are more complex than one of Ikea’s flat-pack pieces of furniture, and would do well to act with greater sensitivity and responsibility,” Israel’s foreign minister stated.

Liberman was responding to the Swedish government’s decision to officially recognize the non-existing state of Palestine, joining Cyprus and Malta in doing so.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said that Sweden had decided on the move because, she claimed, the criteria set by international law for the existence of a Palestinian state has been met.  “There is a territory, a people and government,” she told reporters in Stockholm.

Swedish Minister Cites ‘Excellent’ Ties with Israel

Wallstrom expressed hope that her government’s “excellent” ties with Israel would continue and that the decision would be accepted by Jerusalem “in a constructive way.”

Sweden was following through with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven’s declaration earlier this month that his government would recognize “Palestine.”

Liberman responded to that declaration by stating that “Lofven must understand that neither declarations nor moves by an outside source can replace direct negotiations between the sides and bring closer a solution that would be part of a comprehensive agreement between Israel and the Arab world.” He further suggested that Lofven focus on the crucial issues at hand, such as the daily mass murders in Syria, Iraq, and other countries in the region.

Author: Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel