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"With friendly concern": The turbulent relations between Israel and Sweden

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Publication details

Title of host publicationIsrael in a Turbulent Region
DatePublished - 28 Feb 2019
EditorsTore Petersen
Original languageEnglish
ISBN (Print)9781138624504


On 30 October 2014, Sweden recognised the state of Palestine. This chapter analyses the reasons for this policy decision, how this has impacted upon relations with Israel, and whether or not this recognition has lead to any positive change for peace. Sweden has since the early 1970's advocated for the Palestinian right to self-determination in the context of a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This chapter argues that recognition is thus simultaneously consistent and divergent with previous policy. The decision was intended to advance a peaceful solution to the conflict by trying to level the asymmetry between the two parties, and was based on principles of international law and human rights which have long guided Swedish foreign policy. Recognition has had little tangible positive effect on the peace process, but it has sharpened a long-held feeling in Israel that Sweden is pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli. However, the decision was not at all anti-Israel, as some have suggested, but has been seized upon by a number of Israeli actors for their own political purposes. Regrettably, anti-Semitism continues to exist in Sweden, but mainly among the far-right, and must not be conflated with government policy.

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