Bolsonaro wants Brazil’s Israel embassy in Jerusalem, says Palestine needs to be a state to have one
Brazil’s President-elect Jair Bolsonaro has reaffirmed his commitment to move his country’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, saying no other country has the right to tell Israel where its capital should be.
The controversial right-wing politician, who swept to power in Sunday’s presidential runoff, had vowed to move the embassy during the election campaign, but confirmed in an interview with an Israeli newspaper on Thursday that he would proceed with the move once he's taken office.
Israel is a sovereign state. If you decide on your capital city, we will act in accordance
“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 told the Israeli Hayom newspaper.
Bolsonaro also suggested that he would close the Palestinian Embassy in Brasilia, saying the diplomatic building was built too close to Bolsonaro’s future residence.
“No embassy can be so close to the presidential palace, so we intend to move it.”
He went on to question Palestinians' right to even possess a diplomatic mission, telling the paper: "Palestine first needs to be a state to have the right to an embassy."
Palestine had been previously recognized as a state by Brazil’s government under Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. However, Lula’s Workers Party candidate, Fernando Haddad, was beaten by Bolsonaro in Sunday’s poll.
If Brazil goes ahead with the embassy move, it would be only the second major nation to contravene international norms moving their embassy to Jerusalem, after the United States.
In December 2017, US President Donald Trump said Washington would officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and ordered the State Department to begin planning for the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The US embassy was officially moved on May 14, with Guatemala and Paraguay saying they also would follow suit. However, the latter subsequently said it would move its mission back to Tel Aviv.
While Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its united capital, Palestinians hope that annexed East Jerusalem will be the capital of their future state.
As a result, the remaining members of the international community do not recognize Israel's jurisdiction and ownership of the city, choosing instead to locate their diplomatic missions to Israel in Tel Aviv.
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