Looking at Gaza Through Swedish Glasses

It is amazing to review how “enlightened” governments in Europe consider the situation in Gaza and Israel.

Firstly, how few governments understand and internalize simple facts:

  • Gaza was part-and-parcel of Palestine. That means that it was designated to be part of the Jewish homeland as outlined in international law in 1920 and the 1922 Palestine Mandate.
  • Gaza was seized and occupied by Egypt in 1948-9. Egypt made no attempt to establish Gaza as an independent Arab state while it administered the area. No international movement pressured Egypt to create such entity.
  • Gazans are not refugees. The Arabs from other parts of Palestine which became Israel in 1948 who moved to Gaza cannot be called “refugees,” but “internally-displaced people” who relocated to another part of the territory.
  • Gazans are independent. This is first time in history that the local Arabs in Gaza rule over themselves, since Israel uprooted every Israeli Jew – soldier and civilian – in 2005.
  • Gazans are ruled by their favorite terrorist group, Hamas. Hamas is designated as a terrorist group by much of the world including the United States, European Union and Israel. It calls for the destruction of Israel in its 1988 charter and was democratically elected to a majority of the Palestinian Parliament in 2006. It continues to lead in Palestinian polls should another election ever be held.
  • Egypt and Israel imposed the Gaza blockade because of Hamas. Israel and Egypt did not have any blockade of Gaza in 2005 when it gave the region independence. The countries established the blockade after Hamas routed the Palestinian Authority from the region in a mini- civil war between Hamas and Fatah in 2007.
  • Hamas launched three wars from Gaza in the past decade. In 2008, 2012 and 2014 the Palestinians in Gaza ratcheted up their attacks on Israel into full-blow wars.
  • The Palestinian attacks from Gaza have not stopped. In between each of the three wars, the Arabs in Gaza continued to attack Israel through incendiary devices, mortar shelling, sniper shots, tunnel infiltration and bombings.

These are plain historic facts which should not be subject to interpretation. Israel abandoned territory to which it had international and historic rights, to watch it be taken over by a group sworn to its destruction which battles against it constantly. You would imagine that such data points would inform how diplomats view the situation there.

But today, the European Union is a haven for Israel-bashers.

Consider Swedish Ambassador Olof Skoog’s address to the United Nations Security Council in May 2018 on the fighting between the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza and Israel. His comments showed an interesting perspective.


H.E Mr. Olof Skoog, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations and the President of the Security Council for the month of July 2018

Palestinians are protesting peacefully, so by definition, Israel is using disproportionate force:

  • Israel, as the occupying power, has a responsibility to protect Palestinian civilians and must fully respect the right to peaceful protest, protect civilians and ensure that the use of force, and other measures taken, are strictly proportional.”
  • “We urge the Israeli security forces to refrain from the use of force against unarmed civilian protestors and representatives of the media. We also call on Hamas, and those organising the demonstrations, to avoid any provocations and ensure that protests remain non-violent and peaceful.”

In such worldview, Israel is the party responsible for the people of Gaza and for the violence. Hamas is not responsible for Gaza; it organizes peaceful demonstrations.

Both sides use children as pawns:

  • We urge all parties to act with the utmost restraint to avoid further loss of life and to protect civilians, particularly children. This means never making children the target of violence as well as not putting children in harm’s way or encouraging them to participate in violence.

It is true that children are inherently innocent; the violence in which they engage is at the direction of adults. But how does one address a violent mob of thousands of children?

Israel should lift Gaza blockade:

  • we must not forget that the people of Gaza have lived in intolerable conditions for far too long, in a humanitarian situation that is now deteriorating even further. To tackle this situation and to enable Gaza to recover, movement and access restrictions must be eased.”

Even with the restrictions of goods, the Arabs of Gaza have amassed hundreds if not thousands of missiles and built additional underground tunnels into Israel, yet the Swedes want to ease the blockade?

Israel does not provide free access in Jerusalem to all religions:

  • “The position of Sweden and the whole European Union on the status of Jerusalem as a final status issue is clear and will not change. All three Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Islam and Christianity – have strong bonds to Jerusalem that must be preserved. A way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states, in line with relevant UN resolutions.”

Israel is the ONLY country that respects the three monotheistic faiths and allows all religions to worship in their holy locations. For centuries, the Arab Muslims forbade Jews from even climbing the steps of the Cave of the Jewish Patriarchs in Hebron! If the goal is freedom of access and respect for religions, then Jerusalem MUST remain the capital of Israel; to suggest otherwise is the inverse of reality and logic.

Western Jerusalem is not part of Israel:

  • In line with longstanding policy of the European Union, we will continue to respect the international consensus on the status of Jerusalem embodied in, among others, Security Council resolution 478, including on the location of diplomatic representations until the final status of Jerusalem is resolved.”
  • “As was stated in December last year, we regret the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It runs counter to international law and this Council’s resolutions.”

The United States relocated its embassy to Israel in the western part of Jerusalem. Has Sweden declared that even the Knesset is on disputed land?

Refusal to comprehend that Hamas seeks the destruction of Israel:

  • “There is unanimity around this table, I believe, in calls for restraint, for de-escalation, to break the cycle of violence, relieving the dire situation in Gaza and for a resumed serious negotiation towards peace.

How does a party negotiate peace with another party that seeks its destruction?

Pre-ordaining outcome of two-state solution including Jerusalem and no Jews:

  • “ We must, more than ever, urgently engage to bring the parties back to negotiations to advance the two-state solution. Intra-Palestinian reconciliation and the Palestinian Authority’s reestablishment in Gaza are also needed. A halt to settlements and an end to the ongoing Israeli occupation are fundamental.”

The Swedish diplomat claims to seek a two-state solution to be negotiated between the parties, but also demands the conclusion of such negotiation with “Jerusalem as the capital of both states” and a Palestine free of any Jews through halting Israeli “settlements.”


An address meant to quell violence in Gaza became a forum for the Swedish diplomat to dictate his desired outcome of a “negotiated” two-state solution. Skoog sanitized the Gaza protests as “peaceful,” and its intentions as noble.

With such a mindset, is it any wonder that Sweden became the first major EU country to recognize Palestine as a country. One can imagine it continuing to wage further diplomatic battles against Israel in the years ahead.


Related First.One.Through articles:

European Narrative over Facts

What’s Wrong with UNRWA

The Recognition Catch Up

J Street’s Select Appreciation of Transparency

What do you Recognize in the Palestinians?

Failing Negotiation 102: Europe

Denmark and Netherlands Support Ari Fuld’s Murder

The Happy and Smug Bigots of Denmark

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1 thought on “Looking at Gaza Through Swedish Glasses

  1. Pingback: Ein Blick auf Gaza – durch eine schwedische Brille | abseits vom mainstream - heplev

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