Netanyahu: Other Countries Looking to Follow Trump Lead to Jerusalem
Several other countries are reportedly considering moving their embassies to Jerusalem, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday.
Speaking to Israeli diplomats at the International Digital Diplomacy Conference at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, Netanyahu predicted that the US move to the capital will prompt other countries to follow suit.
“I want to take the opportunity and tell you that we are in contact with other countries that will [also recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel]… I have no doubt that as soon as the US embassy moves to Jerusalem and before that, more embassies will also move. It’s about time,” Netanyahu said.
Earlier, the Czech Republic became the first country to follow US President Donald Trump’s lead in reconnizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, breaking with other European countries the foreign ministry in Prague said in a statement Wednesday. But the ministry also specified that Prague also recognised the eastern half of the city as the capital of a future Palestinian state, and said the country would not move its embassy in Israel to the capital until progress was made on the Israel-Palestinian peace process.
“The Czech Republic currently, before the peace between Israel and Palestine is signed, recognizes Jerusalem to be in fact the capital of Israel in the borders of the demarcation line from 1967.
“The Czech Republic together with other EU member states, following the EU Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions, considers Jerusalem to be future capital of both states, meaning the State of Israel and the future State of Palestine.
“The Ministry can start considering moving of the Czech embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem only based on results of negotiations with key partners in the region and in the world,” the statement said.
Prague’s declaration followed not only Washington’s delaration, but also a similar move by Russia earlier in the year. In April, the foreign ministry in Moscow “reaffirm(ed) our commitment to the UN-approved principles for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement, which include the status of East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state. At the same time, we must state that in this context we view West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”
Other actors on the international stage were less enthusiastic. European Union High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said Brussels had “serious concern” about the American move and the possible repercussions the chance in policy could have on the prospect of peace. “The EU position remains unchanged. The aspirations of both parties must be fulfilled and a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states.
“The EU and its Member States will continue to respect the international consensus on Jerusalem embodied in, inter alia, UNSCR 478, including on the location of their diplomatic representations until the final status of Jerusalem is resolved,” Mogherini said.
UN Secretary General António Guterres reiterated the world body’s long-held position that Jerusalem should be considered a “final-status issue” that must be resolved via negotiations.
“I understand the deep attachment that Jerusalem holds in the hearts of so many people. It has been so for centuries and it will always be.
“In this moment of great anxiety, I want to make it clear : There is no alternative to the two-state solution. There is no Plan B.
“It is only by realizing the vision of two states living side-by-side in peace, security and mutual recognition, with Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Palestine, and all final status issues resolved permanently through negotiations, that the legitimate aspirations of both peoples will be achieved.
“For my part as the United Nations Secretary-General, I will do everything in my power to support the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to return to meaningful negotiations and to realize this vision of a lasting peace for both people,” Guterres said.