Israel will return its ambassador to Sweden on the date marking the historic UN vote on the partition of the British Mandate.
Ambassador Isaac Bachman has been in Israel for three weeks; the foreign ministry decision to return him to his post, approved by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, was intended to emphasize to the Swedes which side was the spoiler in the conflict.
Sweden has made diplomatic overtures to Israel in the hopes of bridging the gap opened between the two nations after Stockholm chose to recognize the state of Palestine and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman made public swipes at his Swedish counterpart.
The Swedish government had earlier dispatched a senior official to Israel to convince Jerusalem to return Ambassador Isaac Bachman, who was recalled for consultation, back to Stockholm.
At the time, Lieberman said that "the Swedish government should understand that Middle East relations are more complex than a piece of self-assembled Ikea furniture, and the matter should be handled with responsibility and sensitivity."
The director of the Middle East department at the Swedish foreign ministry, Robert Rydberg, held meetings at the foreign ministry in Jerusalem, insisting that Stockholm wanted to restore its ties with Israel to their normal status.
Senior ministry officials expressed Israel's disappointment from the recognition of Palestine and told Rydberg that at this stage Ambassador Bachman would remain in Israel for further consultation.
Senior diplomatic sources said that Jerusalem has no intention to inflame its relations with Sweden. Foreign ministry officials believe that the Israeli ambassador would return to Stockholm by the end of November or the start of the following month, but noted that the final decision rested with the foreign minister.
But the crisis in diplomatic tires seems far from over. On Saturday Sweden's King Carl Gustaf send Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a letter on the occasion of Palestinian independence day – November 15, as declared 26 years ago by Yasser Arafat.
The Swedish monarch wrote Abbas: "To mark the independence say of the state of Palestine – I want to send my warm wishes for your health, your happiness, and the success of the people of Palestine."
The letter marked the first time a Swedish king has noted the Palestinian declaration. Israeli Ambassador to Sweden Isaac Bachman – who remains in Israel – did not maintain his silence, publishing a Facebook post critical of the move.
"Swedish congratulations to the most violent 'state' on earth, the most split one, due to internal violent disputes. A 'state' that its President cannot visit and does not control half of his people, who are oppressed by his practical companions (Hamas) to the same 'government', a government that is 4 years overdue with democratic elections... before it becomes funny – it is sad," he wrote.
Several days before, Bachman launched another Facebook attack on the Swedish government's conduct, posting a picture of a giant elephant in a room. "When the Middle East is treated in Sweden, this is how it looks like. The elephant in the room is ignored too often and it represents a forgiving attitude to terrorism that goes as far as having difficulties to condemn it."
Bachman added that the current Swedish administration does not hold Abbas accountable for the violence in Jerusalem, choosing to recognize Palestine and to increase their financial support instead of punishing the Palestinian Authority and its leader. "What incentive should he have, in this circumstance, to negotiate with Israel?! His conclusion is very logical - tough positions, no negotiations and terrorism against Israel pays.