Israel says it thwarts EU condemnation of US embassy move

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Israel, aided by several European countries, thwarted plans for a European Union statement on Friday condemning the relocation of the US embassy from Israel to Jerusalem, Channel 10 reported.

European diplomats and Israeli officials said the declaration, initiated by France, was aimed at presenting a unified European front against Washington’s decision.

But objections from Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania helped Jerusalem stop the declaration.

According to the report, the draft resolution stipulated that Jerusalem should be the capital of two states: Israel and Palestine; that the status of Jerusalem should only be resolved through peace negotiations; and that EU countries will not follow the United States to move their missions to the holy city.

The President of the Czech Republic has expressed support for moving the country’s embassy to Jerusalem, although the Prime Minister is against it. The Romanian Prime Minister also spoke in favor of such a relocation, opposed by the President of this country.

Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, left, stands next to Romanian President Klaus Iohannis after his cabinet’s swearing-in, in Bucharest, Romania, on Monday January 29, 2018 (AP Photo / Vadim Ghirda)

Hadashot TV news reported on Wednesday that European diplomats will skip a Foreign Office event next week, marking the opening of the US embassy which will operate at the site of a US consulate in the capital.

Although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited the entire foreign diplomatic corps to Sunday’s event, many European envoys, including those from the United Kingdom, France and Germany, will boycott the ceremony, according to the report.

“It’s a little strange to invite us to celebrate an event that we have opposed and condemned. Americans were smarter and knew ahead of time that they shouldn’t invite us to avoid embarrassment, ”the network said, citing a diplomatic source.

The Foreign Ministry later said it was not aware of any decision to skip the event.

“For the moment, 30 of the 86 ambassadors have responded positively [to the invitation]. A large number of ambassadors have yet to respond. We hope that all the ambassadors will arrive, ”declared Emmanuel Nahshon, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat on Monday called on foreign dignitaries in Israel and around the world to stay away so as not to endorse what he called “blatant violations of international law” by Washington.

“As Washington pursues a policy of encouraging international anarchy and in defiance of international organizations and law, we call on all diplomatic corps, civil society organizations and religious authorities to boycott the inauguration ceremony of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, lest they legitimize an illegal decision and the continuation of Israeli policies of occupation, colonization and annexation, ”Erekat said.

Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, speaks to reporters at a press conference in Ramallah, West Bank, April 21, 2018 (AFP / Abbas Momani)

US President Donald Trump’s decision on December 6 to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to locate the embassy there “is not only illegal, but will also hamper the achievement of a just and lasting peace between two sovereign states. and democratic on the 1967 borders, Israel and Palestine. live side by side in peace and security, ”the Erekat declaration continued.

The Palestinians have categorically rejected Trump’s Jerusalem policy and have effectively avoided contact with US officials since the decision.

Sunday’s Foreign Ministry event will also mark Guatemala’s opening of its embassy in the city next week and will see the participation of Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales. Guatemala announced weeks after Trump that it would move its embassy to Jerusalem, making it the second country to do so.

Paraguay confirmed on Wednesday that it would also move its embassy to Jerusalem, after Nahshon said on Monday that Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes will visit Israel later this month for the inauguration.

Raphael Ahren and Alexander Fulbright contributed to this report.

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