Rapprochement between Sweden and Israel
Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde visited Israel this week - the first official visit to the country by a Swedish top diplomat in over ten years. In 2014, Sweden was one of the first European countries to recognise Palestine as a state, after which Israel withdrew its ambassador. The press welcomes the thaw in relations.
Respect is key
Reaching out to Israel is the right thing to do, Sydsvenskan praises:
“Of course, Israel is more willing to listen to a respectful friend than to a country that is considered hostile. Clearly, Sweden must criticise Israel if the criticism is justified. But this must be done in a constructive way, and not in the form of symbolic political pronouncements. Linde is obviously trying to maintain an appropriate balance. ... The situation between Israelis and Palestinians may be extremely tense - as a friend of both sides, Sweden must help to improve relations in the longer term. And it is good for Sweden's international relations that Stockholm is now once more talking to the only democracy in the Middle East.”
Stockholm has learned its lesson
Expressen also stresses that foreign policy is all about diplomacy and tact:
“It was extremely important for Israel to deter countries from following the Swedish example [of early recognition of Palestine]. So it's no wonder that the then Foreign Minister Margot Wallström was heavily criticised. And unfortunately she made things even easier for her critics with her many clumsy remarks, such as when she linked the Middle East conflict to the terrorist attacks in Paris. ... It's easier to achieve goals with more clever diplomacy. ... The fact that Ann Linde is now starting to counteract Wallström's legacy is hopefully a sign that the government has learned this lesson.”