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Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Thursday that the decision by the Swedish government to recognize a Palestinian state was unfortunate and would strengthen radical elements and Palestinian recalcitrance.
“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,” he said.
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Margot Wallstrom said she would not dramatize Israeli Foreign Ministry’s decision to recall its ambassador from Stockholm.
Sweden hopes its “excellent cooperation” with Israel will continue and that the decision will be met in Jerusalem “in a constructive way,” she said.
The State of Palestine was officially recognized by 134 countries. It is a member of the League of Arab States, but it has no status of full-fledged UN member because Palestine is not recognized by three permanent members of the UN Security Council — the US, the United Kingdom and France, as well as by the majority of EU countries and Japan.
In the EU present-day history Sweden was the first country that recognized Palestine. In the late 1980s it was recognized by Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Cyprus, Malta, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
In early October the Swedish government said it intended to recognize the State of Palestine. Sweden’s decision was criticised by the United States and Israel. The Swedish ambassador was summoned to the Israeli Foreign Ministry to give explanations on this issue.