Sweden's Ambassador to Israel is summoned to the Israeli Foreign Ministry to explain the announcement by Sweden's new center-left government that it will recognize the State of Palestine. Mana Rabiee reports.
Sweden's Ambassador to Israel has been summoned to the Israeli Foreign Ministry. He's been asked to explain the announcement by Sweden's new center-left government that it will recognize the State of Palestine. Ambassador Carl Magnus Nesser defended the move, saying it's designed to support moderate Palestinians and aims to bring Israel and the Palestinians closer for renewing talks. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SWEDISH AMBASSADOR, CARL MAGNUS NESSER SAYING: "This is, in the government's view, a step towards resumption of successful negotiations to both parties and to make sure we support the Palestinians." Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Sweden's decision "brave" and hoped other countries would follow suit. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the announcement was "unilateral" and goes against previous Mideast agreements. (SOUNDBITE) (Hebrew) ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU SAYING: "It would not bring the peace any closer only take it farther away. An agreement will only be reached through negotiations which will ensure Israel's national interests, with the security of Israel's (citizens) foremost among them''. Palestinians want statehood in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as their capital. They've tried to side-step stalled peace talks by taking their cause directly to foreign powers, lobbying nations to recognize their claim of sovereignty.