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Swedish Foreign Minister Boycotts
Israeli Products

APRIL 20, 2002

Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh announced that she will boycott Israeli products available in the Swedish market, especially citrus fruits and avocadoes.

Speaking to Swedish television on Friday, April 19, Lindh said, "If I'm unable to influence my government's policy to boycott Israel, I can at least personally boycott their products." She called on Swedish nationals to boycott Israeli products in the light of the recent massacres committed by the Israeli army in the Palestinian territories.

Lindh is a member of the ruling Social Democratic Party and has been sympathetic with Arab issues along with other members of the Swedish government, such as former Foreign Minister Stein Anderson, a personal friend of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

She had in the past asked the European Union to suspend its relations with Israel as a way of denouncing the occupation forces practices against the Palestinian civilian population.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian minister for international cooperation Nabil Shaath was visiting Stockholm on Friday and met with Swedish Prime Minister Goeran Persson who promised to donate 350 Swedish Corona (nearly $ 35 million) to rebuild Jenin and nearby areas destroyed by Israeli aggression. Persson promised to increase the sum soon.

Shaath also met with Lindh who expressed her shock at recent events in the Palestinian territories and promised to do her best to help the Palestinian people.

Besides government officials, Swedish nationals have also been sympathizing with the Palestinian cause, many of them wearing badges that said "boycott Israel".

The streets of Stockholm on Thursday witnessed demonstrations were banners were raised calling hawkish Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon a mass murder, and other saying "Bush is a killer" and "Zionism is Faschism". Jews in Sweden have also held counter demonstrations and a few conflicts rose between both sides that was stopped through police intervention.

In the Swedish city of Obsala on Friday, a silent demonstration was held with demonstrators wearing black and carrying candles.

The increasing number of Swedes participating in anti-Israeli demonstrations has been noticeable and has forced the Palestinian Issue to be featured on the agenda of the Swedish Legislative elections which will be held on September 2002.