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Jeanette Escanilla of Sweden’s Left Party says protecting Palestinian rights requires Sweden to go beyond recognition of the State of Palestine

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DIMITRI LASCARIS: This is Dimitri Lascaris, reporting for The Real News from the port in Naples, Italy. I’m seated here in front of the one of the ships to Gaza with Jeannette Escanilla. She’s a member of the Swedish parliament for the Swedish Left Party, and also the chair of the Swedish Boat to Gaza, I understand. Thank you for joining us.

JEANNETTE ESCANILLA: Thank you, Dimitri. [Good to] meet you.

DIMITRI LASCARIS: So you’ve, you recently, in your capacity as a member of the Swedish parliament, you had an interaction with Sweden’s foreign minister about the flotilla. Could you please explain to us what happened?

JEANNETTE ESCANILLA: Yes. For me is very important to act like a member of the Swedish Parliament, because the situation of Gaza is very difficult. I ask the government and the foreign minister Margot Wallstrom in Sweden to answer me, the people of Sweden and everybody who can see that, to answer the question about the situation of Gaza and what Sweden can do, or are doing, for the human rights of the people in Palestine in Gaza. And also to, to know that we are going to Gaza with our boats, four boats, three from Sweden. And so what she thinks about that, and what they are going to do to protect our boats and the people who are going there.

DIMITRI LASCARIS: And how did she respond to your inquiry?

JEANNETTE ESCANILLA: Well, I get an answer, a very good answer. But I hope that she is going to act after this answer, because the Swedish government, she answered that we are protecting the human rights of the people of Gaza. We are against the blockade, and this has to stop. And the answer about our trip to Gaza with the boats, that they have already and conversations with the Israelis to protect are boats in the international sea. We are, the Swedish government are protecting the international sea, the law about, to be in thee free to be in the sea, international water. So it’s a very good answer, but I hope that they really make action when the boats are near Gaza.

DIMITRI LASCARIS: So Foreign Minister Wallstrom has previously angered the Israeli government. Could you tell us why, and what the consequences have been for her?

JEANNETTE ESCANILLA: Well, Sweden have a tradition of solidarity country for many, many years. In Sweden when the Social Democrats won the elections for now, so they decide together with the Left Party and the Green Party to recognize Palestine. And this was not good news for the Israelis. And then after that saw Margot Wallstrom and the Swedish government there are consequently in the position of, they are against the blockade and against their occupation of the, of the land of the Palestinians. So that’s why she’s not welcome to Israel. And it’s a big mistake of the Israelis to don’t have, to not listen to the government of Sweden, because the government of Sweden tries even to work around the world to make the world open their eyes and stop the criminal state of Israel. They are killing the Palestinian people.

DIMITRI LASCARIS: So despite the efforts of the Swedish government and Foreign Minister Wallstrom, do you think that the Swedish government should be doing more, and in particular on the question of sanctions? You know, in the last few days the Irish Senate passed a bill that I think is unprecedented in the European Union, the West really, banning the importation of products made in Israel’s illegal settlements. There is virtually no form of economic sanction, as I understand it, being imposed by any government, and Sweden-. With that possible exception in Ireland. Do you think that the sanctions are really what we need here? Do you think the Swedish government should be doing more in that regard?

JEANNETTE ESCANILLA: Yes, the Swedish government can do more. The sanctions is very important to make, stop this, this criminal action of Israel. So yes, but just now Sweden has not taken this, this decision to make sanctions official. So it could be my, my next step to make a new question asked about that. But just now they’re, we are doing something. We are sending the boats. It’s also a good action to do, in practical things to show the world and to break the silence about the situation in Gaza. So everything we can do. Yes. And we can do more. So I’m going to prepare a question to Margot Wallstrom about this to do more. The sanction is very important.

DIMITRI LASCARIS: I’d like to thank you very much for joining us today, Jeannette, and I wish you an excellent voyage.

JEANNETTE ESCANILLA: Thank you very much, Dimitri.

DIMITRI LASCARIS: And this is Dimitri Lascaris, reporting from the port of Naples, Italy for The Real News Network.

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Dimitri Lascaris is a lawyer that focuses on human rights and environmental law. He is the former justice critic of the Green Party of Canada and is a former board member of the Real News Network. You can follow him @dimitrilascaris and find more of his work at