Middle East

Israel's Netanyahu: Swedish FM's remarks 'outrageous'

Benjamin Netanyahu (14/01/16) Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Netanyahu accused Ms Wallstrom of double-standards towards Israel

Israel's prime minister has denounced a call by Sweden's foreign minister to investigate whether recent killings of Palestinians were "extrajudicial".

Benjamin Netanyahu said Margot Wallstrom's remarks were "outrageous... immoral and... stupid".

Ms Wallstrom had called for "thorough and credible investigations" into the deaths.

Some 155 Palestinians - mostly attackers, Israel says - have been killed in unrest since October.

In that time, 26 Israelis have been killed in stabbing, shooting or car-ramming attacks by Palestinians or Israeli-Arabs.

The attackers who have been killed have either been shot dead by their victims or security forces. Others have been arrested.

On Tuesday, Ms Wallstrom said it was "vital that there is a thorough, credible investigation into these deaths in order to clarify and bring about possible accountability", according to Swedish media reports.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Israel says Ms Wallstrom would not be welcome in the country

Speaking to foreign reporters, Mr Netanyahu condemned Ms Wallstrom's comments.

"I think what the Swedish foreign minister said is outrageous, I think it's immoral, it's unjust and it's just wrong," he said.

"People are defending themselves against assailants wielding knives who are about to stab them to death and they shoot the people, and that's extrajudicial killings?

"Does the Swedish foreign minister suggest that there be examinations of what happened... in Paris, or in [San Bernardino] the United States?" he asked by comparison, alluding to deadly attacks late last year by Islamist militants in which the assailants were killed by security forces.

Israel's deputy foreign minister earlier said Israel would continue a policy of barring the Swedish foreign minister from visiting the country, accusing Ms Wallstrom of fostering terrorism.

Relations between Israel and Sweden have been strained since Sweden recognised Palestinian statehood in October 2014.

In the wake of the November 2015 Paris attacks, Ms Wallstrom also angered Israel by saying a sense of hopelessness among Palestinians was a factor behind the rise of Islamist extremism in Europe.

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