OTTAWA, Canada — Canada’s opposition Conservatives said Monday they would follow the US lead and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel if they beat Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in the next election in 2019.
“Canada’s Conservatives recognize the obvious fact that Israel, like every other sovereign nation, has a right to determine where its capital is located,” the party said on its website.
As such, a Tory government led by Andrew Scheer “will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital when we form government in 2019,” it said.
The Conservatives held power from 2006 until 2015 when they were toppled by the Liberals in a general election.
After trailing the Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in public opinion polls over the past two and a half years, the Tories narrowed the gap to within five percentage points in the latest surveys.
In December, US President Donald Trump broke with decades of policy to announce US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Until now, the US embassy has been located in Tel Aviv.
The US State Department notified Congress on Friday that the Jerusalem embassy would open in May to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence, speeding up the process by converting a building currently housing consular services into the embassy. The State Department confirmed the timing of the move.
Earlier on Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Trump is “worthy of all praise” for his planned move of the US embassy to Jerusalem in May, and predicted that other countries would soon follow suit.
“We are in touch with other countries, and it’s only a matter of time before other countries join the US in moving their embassies to Jerusalem,” said Netanyahu at the weekly Likud faction meeting.
Trump’s December declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announcing plans to relocate the embassy there was met with Israeli praise and worldwide condemnation. That same month the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning the administration’s move and calling on countries not to move their diplomatic missions to the city.
Relations between the US administration and the PA have been strained since Trump’s December 6 announcement.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas and senior PA officials have since stated that the US was no longer qualified to play any role in a Middle East peace process because of its “bias” in favor of Israel, and the PA has refused all substantive contacts with the Trump administration.