Debris after bombing in Gaza Strip. Photo: TT

Swedes react strongly to Gaza Strip violence

"Occupied territories live under completely different conditions"
1:53 min

An air war between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip continues to escalate. After rocket fire by Hamas and Israeli airstrikes, the death toll has reached more than 100. The conflict has also sparked strong reactions here in Sweden.

The fighting in Gaza stretched into its fourth day today, after Israeli warplanes killed four more Palestinians in an early dawn raid. At the same time, a Hamas rocket hit a fuel tanker at an Israeli gas station causing a massive blaze.

Tensions have been rising since the kidnappings and deaths of both Israeli and Palestinian teenagers in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

In Sweden, many have condemned the events with Swedish editorial pages criticizing Israel's actions.

One of Israel's strongest critics is author and journalist Göran Rosenberg. Speaking on Swedish Radio this morning, he called the area an apartheid state given the stark differences between the lives of ordinary Israelis and Palestinians.

"It is not that I mean Israel, in and of itself, is an apartheid state but together with the occupied territories, a situation has arisen after the negotiations for a two-state solution broke down. So you can see that the part we call the occupied territories lives under completely different judicial, social and political conditions," Rosenberg told Swedish Radio news

Stefan Sturesson of the Sweden-Israel Friendship Association said that it is unfair to call Israel an apartheid state, which he described as a multi-cultural democracy.

"If you instead look at the palestinian territories like the West Bank, they appear apartheid-like, no jews can live there."

In the world of politics, the fighting has prompted calls for peace from around the world with the US government now offering to help broker a truce.

Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt also weighed in on the conflict today. Writing on his personal Twitter account, Bildt said no one was winning by resorting to violence and he called for a ceasefire between the two sides.

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