12:48 GMT +322 November 2019
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    Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas (R) poses for a picture with Sweden's King Carl Gustaf on February 10, 2015 at the Royal Palace in Stockholm

    Israel Furious Over Palestinian Leader's Visit to Sweden

    © AFP 2019 / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND
    Middle East
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    Mahmoud Abbas's official visit to Sweden has provoked a fierce reaction from Tel Aviv.

    Ekaterina Blinova - Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's official visit to Sweden has aggravated further tensions between Tel Aviv and Stockholm, and added fuel to the flame of the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    According to the media reports, Abbas is seeking political support in Sweden in order to bolster international recognition for the idea of a sovereign Palestinian state. It should be noted that the Nordic country has become one of the major European powers to recognize Palestine last year, prompting a diplomatic scandal and the withdrawal of the Israeli ambassador from the country.

    "The Swedish government needs to understand that relations in the Middle East are more complicated than a piece of furniture from IKEA that you assemble at home, and should act with responsibility and sensitivity," Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated sarcastically, referring to the famous Swedish furniture company, while commenting on the issue.

    However, the Swedish government is demonstrating its support for the Palestinian Authority (PA), not paying heed to Jerusalem's fierce protests. Furthermore, Foreign Minister Margot Wallström has recently announced plans to strengthen cooperation between Palestine and Sweden. Margot Wallström has revealed that the rapprochement process will be marked with a five-year partnership deal covering a number of issues, including human rights, democracy, equality, the environment and entrepreneurship, Swedish media sources underscore. The Foreign Minister believes that the cooperation between the PA and Sweden will become a light at the end of the tunnel for the Palestinians, providing them with new opportunities.

    "The visit also gives us the opportunity to talk about what we think that Palestine can contribute, in the hope of resuming peace negotiations," Foreign Minister Margot Wallström stated.

    The move has already met with severe criticism from Tel Aviv, while Isaac Bachman, Israel's Ambassador to Sweden has emphasized that the recognition of Palestine by Sweden as well as their rapprochement will only further aggravate tensions between Tel Aviv and Stockholm.

    It should be noted that according to the Palestinian Authorities, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, including East Jerusalem, should be recognized by the international community as a part of the new Palestinian state.

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    Tags:
    official visit, Avigdor Lieberman, Margot Wallström, Mahmoud Abbas, Sweden, Israel, Palestine
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