Current debate

Week 20: Sweden's role in the Israel-Palestine conflict and vaccine patent

Last week, the conflict between Israel and Palestine continued to dominate the debate sides, now focusing on Sweden's and the EU's role in the conflict. The issue of vaccine patents has also been a recurring theme, where different opinions and calls for what Sweden should do have been expressed.

Jeannette Escanilla, President of Ship to Gaza Sweden, wonders why Sweden is so silent about Israel's crime in Gaza. She writes in Dagens ETC that the Swedish government and the international community have long known about how Israel has committed repeated violations of international law, but that more action is needed.

"Ship to Gaza demands that the Swedish government, which has recognized the state of Palestine in order to enable the Palestinians' right to self-determination, condemn the daily human rights violations to which the Palestinians are exposed," Escanilla writes. 

Staffan Carlshamre writes in a debate post in Aftonbladet that Sweden and the international community must take responsibility in the Israel-Palestine conflict when the state of Israel was created under the UN regulations and thus should "take responsibility for its creation and give redress to its victims".

Although Gunnar Jonsson questions the role of the EU when it comes to the conflict between Israel and Palestine in DN's Leader. He believes that the EU's common foreign policy is neither seen nor heard during the war in Gaza.

- The simple explanation is that the EU prefers to keep quiet about foreign affairs. If something big happens, the union begins to screw up. 

Jonsson believes that the reason for this is that all Member States are so different in their views that it is difficult to pursue a common foreign policy. The EU will therefore not be an important player in the world arena, despite its economic weight. 

Different opinions about of vaccine patents

Oliver Schulz, Secretary General of Médecins Sans Frontières Sweden and Filippa Wittenberg, Acting Secretary General of Oxfam Sweden, writes that vaccine patents should be abolished to enable equal access to vaccines worldwide. They call on the Swedish government to follow the proposal for a temporary exemption in the patent rules regarding the vaccine.

- Should low-income countries be dependent on development assistance to be able to handle pandemics or should they be given the right to build up their own production of, for example, medicines? This is the central issue the Swedish government should take a stand on, they write.

But it is not about the patents, according to the editorial staff at Expressen, but them "Deadly barriers to trade". They believe that the debate on patents shifts the focus from solutions that can really make a difference, and believe that it is instead more important to lift trade barriers and stop exports of vital inputs.

Abolishing patents will not save lives in the short term, and is likely to make it more difficult to do so in the future.


A selection of the last week's editorial and debate articles on global development and Sweden's role in the world: 

Israel and Palestine

Leader: Therefore, no one asks what the EU thinks of the Middle East
Gunnar Jonsson, DN

Why is Sweden so silent about Israel's crime in Gaza?
Jeannette Escanilla, ETC.

We must take responsibility for the creation of Israel
Staffan Carlshamre, Aftonbladet

SSU and the Palme Center have an anti-Israel stance
Kristofer Åberg, OmVärlden

Vaccine patent

It is unjustifiable to promote profits over giving all vaccines
Oliver Schulz, Filippa Wittenberg, ETC.

The Left and Biden are wrong about the vaccine patents
The editorial staff, Expressen

Other items

Do not reduce aid when the needs are greatest, M and SD
Principal, Sydsvenskan

The Nordic countries need political commitment and a dose of Swedish humility
Annika Ström Melin, DN

We demand a climate policy that reverses the emissions curve
100 young, Expressen

Increase cooperation for increased security. Proven to succeed
Abir Al-Sahlani, Johan Hedin and Annika Qarlsson, Sydsvenskan

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