Dubai: The Israeli regime has described a plan by Sweden’s new centre-left government to recognise the state of Palestine as being ill-considered in the absence of Middle East peace negotiations.
Its Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday that the regime will summon the Swedish ambassador to protest the decision.
“I regret that the Swedish prime minister was in a hurry to make statements on Sweden’s position regarding recognition of a Palestinian state, apparently before he had time even to study the issue in depth,” said Lieberman.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven’s announced the move during his inaugural address to Stockholm’s parliament on Friday.
Lieberman said Lofven “has not yet internalised that those who have posed an obstacle over the last 20 years to progress and an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians are the Palestinians”.
In his inaugural address to parliament Lofven said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be resolved by a two-state solution which “requires mutual recognition and the will to co-exist peacefully.
“Sweden will therefore recognise the State of Palestine,” Lofven said but did not mention how or when it would be done.
The Israelis fear that other major European countries will follow Sweden to recognise a Palestinian state.
Meanwhile Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said the Swedish announcement was “great and honourable” and he hoped other countries would follow suit, according to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.
Palestinians seek statehood in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, adjacent occupied East Jerusalem and the blockaded Gaza Strip. They have sought to sidestep stalled peace talks by lobbying foreign powers to recognise their sovereignty claim.
The UN General Assembly approved the de facto recognition of the state of Palestine in 2012 but the European Union and most EU countries have yet to give official recognition.
The Israelis have long balked at the Palestinian demand for the West Bank, which they have peppered with Jews-only colonies, and for occupied East Jerusalem, which they annexed as their capital in a move not recognised internationally.
Lieberman, a far-rightist in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s conservative coalition government, called on Lofven “to focus on more burning problems in the region such as the daily mass-killings going on in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.”
— With inputs from Reuters and IANS