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Palestinians slam 'provocative' Brazil embassy move to Jerusalem

Hanan Ashrawi says the provocative and illegal steps will only destabilise security in region [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 November, 2018

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Hanan Ashrawi condemned Brazilian far-right President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who has outraged many with his overtly misogynistic, homophobic and racist rhetoric, on his announcement to move the Israel embassy to Jerusalem.

A senior Palestinian official on Friday condemned Brazilian far-right President-elect Jair Bolsonaro's announcement that he would move his country's Israel embassy to Jerusalem.

"These are provocative and illegal steps that will only destabilise security and stability in the region," Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's executive committee, told AFP.

The United States moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May, sparking fury among Palestinians, who consider the Israeli-annexed eastern part of the city the capital of their future state.

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

On Thursday Bolsonaro tweeted that "as previously stated during our campaign, we intend to transfer the Brazilian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem."

"Israel is a sovereign state and we shall duly respect that," he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hailed the move as "historic".

Only the United States and Guatemala currently have their embassies in Jerusalem, while other countries have theirs in Tel Aviv.

Israel occupied Arab east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community. It sees the entire city as its capital. For decades the international community maintained that the city's status should be negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians.

In December, President Donald Trump reversed longstanding US policy and recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, prompting Palestinian President Mahmoud 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.

Bolsonaro, 63, who won a run-off election on Sunday, has outraged many with his overtly misogynistic, homophobic and racist rhetoric.

Following his victory, 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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