Palestinians Denounce, Israel Lauds Brazil’s Decision on Embassy Transfer

Palestinians Denounce, Israel Lauds Brazil’s Decision on Embassy Transfer

Saturday, 3 November, 2018 - 08:30
Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro celebrate in Rio de Janeiro after he won Brazil's presidential election, on October 28, 2018. (CARL DE SOUZA / AFP)
Tel Aviv - Asharq Al-Awsat
Palestinians denounced Friday the decision of Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro to recognize Jerusalem as a capital of Israel and transfer his country’s embassy to the city.

“Is Palestine a country? Palestine is not a country,” Bolsonaro said Friday, prompting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to announce that he is willing to visit Brazil soon to thank the president-elect in person.

Netanyahu said he was certain Bolsonaro’s election “will lead to a great friendship between our peoples and the tightening of links between Brazil and Israel.”

He added: “We are waiting for his visit to Israel.”

“These are provocative and illegal steps that will only destabilize the region,” Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, told AFP.

“It is very unfortunate that Brazil has joined this negative alliance against international law,” Ashrawi said.

“We reject the Brazilian president-elect’s decision to relocate the embassy,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri wrote on his official Twitter page.

He went on to describe the Brazilian leader’s decision as “an affront to the Palestinian people as well as Arab and Muslim nations."

"When I was asked during the campaign if I'd do it when I became president, I said 'yes, the one who decides on the capital of Israel is you, not other nations'," Bolsonaro said earlier this week in an interview with Israel Hayom.

"As for the Palestinian Embassy, it was built too close to the presidential palace. … No embassy can be so close to the presidential palace, so we intend to move it. There's no other way, in my opinion. Other than that, Palestine first needs to be a state to have the right to an embassy," he continued.

Bolsonaro affirmed that "you can count on having our vote in the UN. I know that often the vote is almost symbolic, but it helps to define the position a country intends to take. Rest assured that you can depend on our vote in the UN on almost all the issues having to do with Israel."

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