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Löfven rejects 'Israel self-defence' post criticism

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Löfven rejects 'Israel self-defence' post criticism
Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT
14:22 CEST+02:00
Social Democrats' leader Stefan Löfven has defended his controversial comments in which he supported Israel's right to 'self-defence' in Gaza, saying that he echoed his party's long term position.

"The statement was definitely within the views we have expressed many times," Löfven told the TT news agency on Monday afternoon, referring to the Social Democrat party's statement last year about the Palestine conflict.

On Saturday night the politician, who is a top candidate for the position of prime minister in the upcoming Swedish general election, wrote that "Israel must respect international law, but obviously has the right to defend itself."

By the next morning the post had over 2,500 comments - most of them negative.

Löfven said that his statement was taken out of context, but was nothing new.

"I cannot list our entire policy in every Facebook post. As long as we don't say that we have changed position, that is what we stand for," he said.

"What I said was that it is clear Israel must obey international law. International law includes the law of war. That means that civilians should be kept back from violence. One must use violence which is proportional."

When asked if Israel's current actions in the face of mounting civilian casualties is indeed reasonable, Löfven however took a step back.

"With so many dead, it is clear that one can question that. The difficult part for us is to now how it looks on the ground, with rocket-launching ramps and so on. Now that the UN has said that over 70 percent of victims are civilians, it is clear one must question if they really are following international law."


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