Israel's ambassador to Sweden has been attacked by victims of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik for comparing the release of Palestinian prisoners to setting the far-right terrorist free.
In an interview with Sveriges Radio (SR) on Tuesday, ambassador Isaac Bachman said the acts committed by some Palestinian prisoners could be compared to the twin attacks Breivik enacted in 2011.
"The horrors that [the Palestinian prisoners] did, to put it in a Scandinavian understanding, it's like what happened in Norway with Breivik," he told SR.
"Imagine if Breivik was released as a gesture of some sort," he added, explaining that Israel was not getting enough credit for agreeing to the release. "Research has shown that these people will return to crime. It's not easy to get public support for releasing these people."
Bjørn Ihler, who survived the killer's attack on the island of Utøya, said that it was senseless to compare the political demands of Palestinian people with Breivik's deluded belief that Europe was at war with Islam.
"The comparison does not make sense," he told The Local. "Breivik was a solo terrorist whose actions were based purely on an unreal situation. The situation in the Middle East is very different. There is a real fight for Palestinian freedom going on."
Trond Blattmann, whose son Torjusdatter was killed when Breivik opened fire on Utøya, said that the comparison was wildly inaccurate.
"I think it is ridiculous to compare this with a mass murderer from Norway," he told The Local. "There's no similarity at all. This is a ridiculous way to talk."
Israel released the first 26 Palestinian prisoners on Wednesday morning, the first day of peace talks brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
"This is the first group,” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the crowd at a welcoming ceremony. “We shall continue until we free all the prisoners from Israeli jails.”
The 104 convicts, some of whom were seized for organising terrorist attacks, will be released in four batches, each dependent on progress in the peace talks.
The talks went started on Wednesday despite calls for a boycott from many Palestinians on Monday and Tuesday after Israel announced that it would approve the construction of 900 new homes for Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem.
Breivik is serving a 21-year prison sentence for killing 77 people and wounding 242 others in a gun and bomb massacre on July 2011.