Czech Republic recognizes pre-1967 Jerusalem as capital of Israel

Moving embassy from Tel Aviv will only be done after negotiations with regional and global powers, says Prague foreign ministry

View of west Jerusalem, September 8 2017. (Stuart Winer/Times of Israel)
View of west Jerusalem, September 8 2017. (Stuart Winer/Times of Israel)

The Czech Republic said in a statement Wednesday that it recognizes the pre-1967 west Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but that it will only consider moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to the city after talks with regional partners.

The announcement came hours after US President Donald Trump declared that his administration was recognizing Jerusalem as the capital and that he had instructed the US State Department to prepare to move its embassy from Tel Aviv. Trump made no distinction between East or West Jerusalem in his declaration.

“The Czech Republic currently, before the peace between Israel and Palestine is signed, recognizes Jerusalem to be in fact the capital of Israel in the borders of the demarcation line from 1967,” the country’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

However, the ministry noted that “the Czech Republic together with other EU member states, following the EU Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions, considers Jerusalem to be the future capital of both states, meaning the State of Israel and the future State of Palestine. The Ministry can start considering moving of the Czech embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem only based on results of negotiations with key partners in the region and in the world.”

In 2017 Russia said it recognized West Jerusalem — taken to be the pre-1967 part of the city — as the capital.

Trump upended decades of US policy on Jerusalem Wednesday, declaring the sorely divided holy city as Israel’s capital.

Defying dire, worldwide warnings, and to Israel’s delight, Trump insisted that after repeated peace failures it was past time for a new approach.

He also for the first time personally endorsed the concept of a “two-state solution” for Israel and the Palestinians, provided both sides agree to it.

US President Donald Trump holds up a signed memorandum after he delivered a statement on Jerusalem from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington, DC on December 6, 2017. (Saul Loeb/AFP)

Expectation of Trump’s announcement had reportedly led leaders of other countries to express interest in moving their missions to the city even before the the actual declaration was made.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte sent a message to Israel that he wanted to move his country’s embassy to the capital, Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported Wednesday.

Other countries have also contacted the Foreign Ministry, some of them to explore moving their embassies to Jerusalem, the report said.

While many leaders of countries around the world voiced harsh objections, in Jerusalem the news was welcomed. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Trump’s announcement as an “important step toward peace,” and several opposition leaders echoed his praise.

AP contributed to this report.

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