Arab League blasts Brazil over 'biased' Jerusalem moves

Arab League blasts Brazil over 'biased' Jerusalem moves
2 min read
19 December, 2019
Brazil's leader has said he will follow US President Donald Trump's controversial step of moving his country's mission to Jerusalem, recognising the contested city as the capital of Israel.
The Latin American country opened its trade mission in Jerusalem on Sunday. [Getty]

The Arab League on Thursday strongly condemned Brazil's opening of a trade office in Jerusalem, calling it "illegitimate" and warning President Jair Bolsonaro against moving his country's embassy to the contested city.

The Brazilian leader has said he will follow US President Donald Trump's controversial step of moving his country's mission to Jerusalem, implying recognition of the hotly disputed city as the capital of Israel.

The Latin American country opened its trade mission in Jerusalem on Sunday, in the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bolsonaro's son Eduardo, who confirmed his father was determined to carry make good on his promise.

The Arab League, after an emergency meeting called for by the Palestinians, said it sees Brazil's "unilateral and illegitimate decision (to open the trade office) as biased towards the Israeli occupation and in support of its illegal policies".

The regional bloc also warned in a statement that Brazil's policy shifts "would seriously damage Arab-Brazilian relations and interests".

Israel occupied East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

It considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

Most countries have their embassies in the coastal city of Tel Aviv.  

In December 2017, President Donald Trump broke with a decades-long consensus that the city's status should be decided in peace negotiations between the two sides. 

His recognition of the city as Israel's capital and subsequent embassy move in May 2018 sparked Palestinian and Arab outrage. 

Guatemala is the only other country to have relocated its embassy to Jerusalem.

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