A delegation of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) on January 19 led a visit to the Swedish Parliament, which last Friday led to a governmental minister being confronted over Sweden's funding to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in light of its rampant incitement.
The January delegation was comprised of WZO Vice Chairman Dr. David Breakstone and former MK Dov Lipman, who brought Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) to the Swedish Parliament to reveal the PA's incitement to terrorism. The session came after Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom condemned Israel's "extra-judicial killings" of Palestinian terrorists.
Swedish MP Mikael Oscarsson (Christian Democrats) hosted the event, and expressed his shock over the incitement. He requested that Wallstrom be invited to the parliament to address the issue, but in the end Minister for International Development Cooperation Isabella Lovin was asked to come instead, in a session held last Friday.
Oscarsson asked Lovin to have conditions placed on the governmental funding to the PA, which she oversees.
He cited former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who back in 2009 stated the Quartet requirements on the PA for peace talks when speaking before the US Congress.
Clinton at the time said, "we will only work with the Palestinian Authority if it unambiguously and explicitly accepts the Quartet principles: a pledge of non-violence, recognition of Israel and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap."
The Roadmap states that the Palestinian institutions must end incitement to violence and hatred of Israel.
"Why are we paying for terror schools?"
Oscarsson emphasized that the PA "continues to spread anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli propaganda through all available media channels and via education in schools. The Authority's schools claim that terrorists are heroes and that all of Israel belongs to the Palestinians."
The MP gave several examples of statements made by PA officials openly glorifying and encouraging the murder of Israelis. He also noted that back in May 2015, Lovin said in Swedish parliament that "the support for democracy and human rights in Palestine also included a condition that Swedish funding must not contribute to sedition."
"Similar to the requirements which Clinton and the Quartet set for Palestine, Sweden should also be able to set requirements for an end to terrorism, incitement to hatred and violence, and an end to the continued financial assistance of terrorists by the Palestinian Authority. If Sweden would require this open and work to put an end to Palestinian support for terror and incitement to violence, Sweden would once again be able to play a constructive role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict," Oscarsson said.
He then asked Lovin to clarify "how Swedish aid is used for the 25 schools which today are named after terrorists," asking that the government demand the names be changed for funding to continue.
He also asked her "how Swedish development assistance to the Palestinian Authority can be made conditional on it not contributing to sedition and if so, how can we make sure that in actuality this does not happen?"
Lovin's response: "Don't talk about it"
In the parliament session, Lovin answered by saying, "Sweden makes demands to the implementation of our aid: respect for human rights, on the struggle against corruption, work for equality and continued reform."
"Sweden has continuous political development dialogue with the Palestinian leadership. The General-Consulate in Jerusalem follows-up on each individual program, all of which are rights-based. Sweden's aid to the Palestinian Authority is channeled through the EU. The EU leads, on behalf of all Member States, the monitoring of aid to the Palestinian Authority through the so-called PEGASE mechanism. It includes different types of sector support with clear objectives and indicators, such as health support in the social sector. The monitoring of aid is rigorous."
Lovin claimed the Swedish government is "clear" in rejecting terrorist acts, and that "the Palestinian knife attacks and all other acts of terrorism are reprehensible and must be condemned by all, that the violence must come to an immediate end and that the recent violence shows that the situation is unsustainable."
Further into her response, Lovin insinuated that the topic should not have been raised.
"I am very worried about us standing like this in Sweden’s Parliament and further putting fuel to the fire, and to polarize this debate. That we are importing this very infected and bloody rhetoric that we absolutely don’t need to devote ourselves to when it’s about aid policy."
"We will support people in need in urgent situations, and we will also work and build long-term for peace, and we do that by giving people belief in the future, by strengthening water supply and infrastructure and economic development. It is the only way to prevent a bloody end to this conflict," she said.
"This is Swedish tax money"
Oscarsson replied by again quoting materials presented to him by PMW, and saying, "do you actually mean that I shouldn't say this? This is Swedish tax money. It would be terribly wrong if I as an MP didn't say what I say and you as a government should pressure to stop this."
The MP also pointed out that Lovin had not yet answered his questions.
Lovin replied by in essence saying Israel is more responsible for the violence than the PA, and that both sides should be blamed for the sake of balance. She emphasized that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas – in English – has said he is against terror.
WZO Vice Chairman Breakstone said after the Friday session that "it is our hope that parliaments throughout the world will have public discussions such as this one and that the Palestinian Authority be forced to stop its incitement and support for terrorism.”
"I am happy that the action that we took forced this public debate and that the Swedish government is aware of the problem of funding the PA while this clear incitement continues," added ex-MK Lipman of WZO.