The Director of the National Security Council Staff in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, Dr. Uzi Arad, cancelled his working visit to Stockholm for this weekend. Dr. Arad was supposed to meet with Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt before the cancellation. The visit was cancelled as a protest against the continuing refusal of the Swedish government to condemn a fabricated story that appeared in the Swedish popular newspaper Aftonbladet that Israeli soldiers sell Palestinian body parts after killing Palestinians. The Swedish ambassador to Israel, Elisabet Borsiin Bonnier, condemned the article only to have the Swedish government overrule the condemnation.
Sweden currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.
Dr. Arad was supposed to fly to Stockholm from Berlin following Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to Germany. According to the original plan, Arad was to leave the entourage in order to meet with Bildt and return to Israel on Friday. The visit was planned two months ago, before the crisis developed. Arad was also supposed to meet with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit who is staying in Stockholm.
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During his visit to Germany, Arad telephoned Bildt and told him that, due to the circumstances, he was canceling his trip to Sweden. The two men have known each other for many years and the crisis between the countries has disturbed their friendship.
“Israel is disappointed over the fact that neither the prime minister of Sweden, Fredrik Reinfeldt, nor the foreign minister of Sweden, Carl Bildt, has been brave enough to condemn the loathsome article,” high-ranking diplomatic officials said.