Czech Republic reopens honorary consulate in Jerusalem

New consul, businessman Dan Propper, says his work will focus on ‘economic relations’

Czech President Milos Zeman speaking at a reception in honor of Israel's 70th birthday at Prague Castle, April 25, 2018 (Facebook)
Czech President Milos Zeman speaking at a reception in honor of Israel's 70th birthday at Prague Castle, April 25, 2018 (Facebook)

The Czech Republic on Tuesday reopened its honorary consulate in Jerusalem, the CTK news agency reported, after President Milos Zeman voiced his wish to move the Czech embassy to the city from Tel Aviv.

The CTK named Dan Propper, a 78-year-old Israeli businessman of Czech origin, as the new honorary consul.

“I see my contribution as being especially focused on economic relations because I have links to the local entrepreneurial community,” Propper told the CTK.

Opened in the early 1990s, the Czech honorary consulate in Jerusalem was closed in 2016 due to the death of the honorary consul.

The Czech Foreign Ministry vowed in April that the decision to reopen the honorary consulate had “no influence on the final agreement on Jerusalem,” adding that Prague “fully respects the common position of the European Union that considers Jerusalem as the future capital of both states, that is to say, the State of Israel and the future state of Palestine.”

Israeli businessman Dan Propper attends a session of the Knesset’s Finance Committee on December 25, 2012. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

US President Donald Trump broke with decades of policy in moving the US embassy to Jerusalem earlier this month, infuriating Palestinians who see the eastern section of the city as the capital of a future state. The move ruptured generations of international consensus that Jerusalem’s status should be settled as part of a two-state peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

Fuming at the move, the PA recalled its envoys to Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria, whose ambassadors attended an Israeli reception marking the embassy move.

Czech President Zeman, known for his pro-Israel stance, has repeatedly said he also wants to see his country’s embassy transferred to Jerusalem.

The Czech embassy (of Czechoslovakia then the Czech Republic) has been in Tel Aviv since 1949, except during the interruption of diplomatic relations under the former communist regime in Prague between 1967 and 1990.

Any decision to move the embassy would first need to be approved by the Czech government.

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