Arab League warns Brazil over Jerusalem moves
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Arab League warns Brazil over Jerusalem moves

After South American country opens trade office in city, regional group says any policy change ‘would seriously damage Arab-Brazilian relations’

Permanent delegates to the Arab League attend a meeting at its headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo on December 19, 2019, to discuss Brazil's new trade office in Jerusalem. (Mohamed el-Shahed/AFP)
Permanent delegates to the Arab League attend a meeting at its headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo on December 19, 2019, to discuss Brazil's new trade office in Jerusalem. (Mohamed el-Shahed/AFP)

CAIRO — The Arab League on Thursday condemned Brazil’s opening of a trade office in Jerusalem and warned it against carrying out Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s pledge to move its embassy there.

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 Sunday, in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bolsonaro’s son Eduardo, who confirmed his father was determined to 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.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife Sara and Brazilian Federal Deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro (R) at the opening of the Brazilian Ministry Trade And Investment Promotion Agency in Jerusalem on December 15, 2019. (Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP)

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

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

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

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

In December 2017, Trump broke with a decades-long international 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.

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