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Sweden says it can't address 'organ theft' article

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STOCKHOLM - Sweden’s Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, says he cannot legally criticize the controversial newspaper article at the center of a diplomatic spat with Israel.

In Sweden, many see the explosive Israeli response as a ploy to distract from European Union (EU) and US pressure on the country to curb settlement expansion in the occupied territories.

On Monday, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Europe for what is expected to be a tough round of bilateral talks with European leaders, Mr. Reinfeldt called for a ”toning down” of the debate surrounding an article by Aftonbladet, Sweden’s largest circulation tabloid newspaper.

Last week, the newspaper created an uproar among many in Israel, most notably the country’s foreign minister Avigor Lieberman, when it published an article suggesting the Israeli military had been involved in stealing the organs of Palestinians men in the early 1990s. Mr. Lieberman and others accused Sweden of antisemitism and compared the article to the medieval "blood libel” that accused Jews of bathing in the blood of Christian children. They demanded the Swedish government denounce the story, which hinged entirely on unnamed sources.

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