Palestine slams 'provocative' Brazilian Embassy move to Jerusalem

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 02.11.2018 21:49

A senior Palestinian official condemned Friday Brazilian far-right President-elect Jair Bolsonaro's announcement that he would move his country's embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. "These are provocative and illegal steps that will only destabilize security and stability in the region," Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization's executive committee, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas also called on Bolsonaro to revoke his decision to relocate the Brazilian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. "We reject the Brazilian president-elect's decision to relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem," leading Hamas member Sami Abu Zuhri tweeted Friday. He went on to describe the Brazilian leader's decision as "an affront to the Palestinian people and the Arab and Muslim nations."

Poised to follow the U.S. president in his most radical foreign policy position, President-elect Jair Bolsonaro vowed to become the second country that follows the embassy move. During his campaign, the right-winger imitated U.S. President Donald Trump's strategy and promised to join the handful of countries that have moved their embassies in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In December, President Donald Trump reversed longstanding U.S. policy and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, prompting Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to boycott his administration. The embassy was officially transferred on May 14, with Guatemala and Paraguay following suit, though the latter announced last month it would return its embassy to Tel Aviv.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday hailed the Brazil leader. "I congratulate my friend Brazilian president-elect Jair Bolsonaro for his intention to move the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem, a historic, correct and exciting step!" Netanyahu said in a statement.

Following his victory, Bolsonaro spoke with Netanyahu, who warmly invited him to Israel, the PM's office said on Sunday. Netanyahu told Bolsonaro he was certain his election "will lead to a great friendship between our peoples and the tightening of links between Brazil and Israel." An official in Netanyahu's office told AFP the Israeli premier was "very likely" to attend Bolsonaro's inauguration ceremony in January.

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