Brazil warned against moving its embassy to Jerusalem

28th Dec 2018

Elham Asaad Buaras

The Arab League has warned Brazil’s far-right President-elect Jair Bolsonaro a transfer of his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem could harm bilateral relations.

In a letter, the Arab League’s Secretary General, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, told Bolsonaro he should reassess his campaign promise or risk ties with the league’s 22 member states.

Writing to Brazil’s Foreign Ministry on December 10 Aboul Gheit said the decision on where to locate an embassy was the sovereign decision of any country, but “the situation of Israel is not normal” as it has been “occupying Palestinian territories by force – among them East Jerusalem [al-Quds].”

Relocating the embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds would be considered a violation of international law and the UN Security Council resolutions, Aboul Gheit wrote. He also urged Bolsonaro to “take into consideration the Arab point of view as a way to preserve our long-standing friendship.”

An unnamed diplomat told Reuters that ambassadors from the Arab League’s 22 member states are expected to meet in the Brazilian capital, Brasilia, on December 11 to discuss the embassy move.

“The Arab world has much respect for Brazil and we want not just to maintain relations but improve and diversify them. But the intention of moving the embassy to Jerusalem [al-Quds] could harm them,” said the diplomat.

Shortly after he was elected in late October, Bolsonaro announced he intended to uphold his campaign promise and move the Latin American country’s embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds to follow in the footsteps of the United States and Guatemala.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, welcomed the plan.
The decision has drawn strong condemnation from the Palestinians and the Arab world. The Palestinian Authority official has blasted the plan as “provocative and illegal” and the Hamas resistance movement has described it as “hostile.”

Meanwhile, Kan 11 reported that during a meeting two weeks ago with United States National Security Adviser, John Bolton, Bolsonaro said that no final decision had yet been made on the relocation of Brazil’s embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds and that there were various issues on the agenda before a final decision is reached.

Tensions have been running high in the occupied Palestinian territories and the Gaza Strip since December 2017, when United States President, Donald Trump, decided to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital” and relocate Washington’s embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied city.

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