Israel’s allies go back on their words, one year after the US relocated its embassy

One year after the United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem, Guatemala was the only country to follow the steps of the Trump administration. While Paraguay and Brazil changed their decisions, many countries neglected the idea of relocating their embassies to the holy city.

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The embassy of the United States in Israel. / Ph. DR

On May 14, 2018, the US embassy in Jerusalem was inaugurated in a ceremony that was attended by Advisor to the President of the United States Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, who is also Senior Advisor to Trump, the US Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan and 12 congressmen.

During this inauguration, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was thrilled. In addition to the presence of his distinguished guests from Washington, the Israeli Prime Minister invited diplomats from 32 countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel. On May 16, 2018, Israeli newspaper Harretz published a list of the attendees, invited to the ceremony in Jerusalem.

Ambassadors from Egypt, Jordan, Russia and the majority of EU countries did not attend the inauguration ceremony.

Two days after the festivities took place, the Republic of Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales opened a diplomatic mission for his country in the holy city. This decision took place after, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said in December, 2017, that she was in touch with «at least ten nations, some of them in Europe» to transfer their embassies to Jerusalem.

Israel’s allies going back on their words

Weeks following the two inaugurations, other states promised to follow the footsteps of the US and Guatemala. However, these promises were not met by some nations, including Paraguay. The latter, and after promising to relocate its Israeli embassy, went back on its words in August 2018, after President Madio Abdo Benitez took office. Reacting to the decision, Netanyahu closed Israel’s embassy in Asuncion.

On the other hand, Romania, South Sudan and the Philippines have not taken action on the matter. In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro, and after announcing that he is moving his country’s embassy to the holy city, had decided to «establish an office in Jerusalem for the promotion of trade, investment, technology and innovation» instead, the Times of Israel reported.

After the opening of the office in Jerusalem, Vice President of Brazil Hamilton Mourao told Reuters hat his government fears the consequences of such transfer, referring to a $5 billion deal his country has with Arab countries.

In the Arab World, the Arab League denounced the decision of the US, Guatemala and other countries that announced that they were moving their embassies to Jerusalem.

In March 2019, a Romanian official had his visit to Morocco canceled, after Romania’s Prime Minister Virica Dancila said, March the 24th, in Washington that her country will move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Reacting to the Romanian decision, Morocco informed the country's Senate president Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, who was expected to fly to the Kingdom, that it is not «available for meetings». This message was «transmitted through diplomatic channels».

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