Czech president in Israel to begin Jerusalem embassy move

Czech president in Israel to begin Jerusalem embassy move
2 min read
26 November, 2018
The Czech president announced in April that Prague would relocate its embassy to Jerusalem in a three phase process, beginning with the inauguration of 'Czech House'.
Czech President Milos Zeman arrived in Israel on Sunday. [Getty]

Czech President Milos Zeman cast doubt on the two-state solution on Monday during a three-day visit to Israel, reiterating plans to move his country's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Zeman, known for his anti-Muslim views, arrived in Israel on Sunday and will inaugurate the so-called 'Czech House' in Jerusalem during his visit, billed as the first step toward moving Prague's Israel embassy to Jerusalem.

The Czech president announced in April that Prague would relocate its embassy to Jerusalem in a three phase process, beginning with the inauguration of 'Czech House' on Tuesday.

He met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Monday, saying he looks forward to hearing the president's plans for a "one-state with two nations", Israeli press reported.

"I was inspired by your idea about one state with two nations, Mr. President, and I know this idea is provocative - any big and deep idea is provocative," Zeman told Rivlin.

Zeman, an outspoken supporter of Israel, dismissed the idea of Gaza as a state, saying "Hamas is a terrorist organisation not a state", according to Israeli press reports.

He is due to address Israel's parliament later on Monday.

The Czech Republic is a staunch ally of Israel and the only European country to openly support US President Donald Trump's May decision to relocate its Tel Aviv embassy to Jerusalem.

Other Eastern and Central European countries have hinted at embassy moves but have come under pressure from other EU countries.

Moving the Czech Republic's embassy to Jerusalem would contradict the European Union's official position the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which calls for a Palestinian state in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza.

The only other country to follow through on Trump's controversial decision is Guatemala, which opened its embassy in Jerusalem two days after the US embassy in the city was inaugurated.

Paraguay moved back its embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv in September, causing a diplomatic fallout with Israel.

Brazil's far-right president-elect Jair Bolsonaro has also said he intends to move his country's Israel embassy to Jerusalem.

East Jerusalem is considered occupied Palestinian territory under international law.

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