The Czech Republic has followed the lead of US President Donald Trump in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The Czech government said in a statement: “The Czech Republic currently, before the peace between Israel and Palestine is signed, recognizes Jerusalem to be in fact the capital of Israel in the borders of the demarcation line from 1967.” The Czechs did not however announce any plans to move the country's embassy to Jerusalem. The Czech Republic's announcement is at odds with the official policy of the European Union, of which the Czech Republic is a member, that the status of Jerusalem is a matter for negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians. The Czech Republic did however hedge its announcement by adding, "The Czech Republic, together with other EU member states, following the EU Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions, considers Jerusalem to be the future capital of both states, meaning the State of Israel and the future State of Palestine."
In his announcement yesterday, President Trump declared US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and said that planning would go ahead for moving the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, but he added that such recognition did not amount to taking a stance on sovereignty and borders in Jerusalem, and for the first time mentioned the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian dispute. "This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It's something that has to be done," the president said.
In April this year, Russia announced recognition of West Jerusalem (the part of the city controlled by Israel before the 1967 war in which it conquered Arab populated East Jerusalem as well) as the capital of Israel.
Trump's announcement was predictably welcomed by the Israeli government and condemned by the Palestinians.
"We're profoundly grateful to the President for his courageous and just decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to prepare for the opening of the US embassy here. This decision reflects the President's commitment to an ancient but enduring truth, to fulfilling his promises and to advancing peace," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas said that the decision would "serve the extremist organizations which seek to lead the region to endless religious wars," while former chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said, "This is the end of US involvement in the peace process."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 7, 2017
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