Dozens of Ukrainian lawmakers want embassy moved to Jerusalem
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Dozens of Ukrainian lawmakers want embassy moved to Jerusalem

Nearly one-fifth of parliament signs resolution urging new Jewish president to follow Trump’s example by formally recognizing Israeli capital

Ukrainian comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, who played the nation's president in a popular TV series, is photographed on the film set in Kiev, Ukraine, on February 6, 2019. (AP/Efrem Lukatsky)
Ukrainian comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, who played the nation's president in a popular TV series, is photographed on the film set in Kiev, Ukraine, on February 6, 2019. (AP/Efrem Lukatsky)

Nearly one-fifth of Ukraine parliament members have co-signed a draft resolution urging their new president to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the embassy there.

Of the 450 members of the Verkhovna Rada, 86 signed on as co-authors of a bill submitted for a vote on Friday, the news site Ukraina reported.

Parliament calls on “the President of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to transfer the Embassy of Ukraine in the State of Israel to its capital, the city of Jerusalem,” reads the explanatory note to the bill. The embassy is currently in Tel Aviv.

A vote has not yet been scheduled for the measure, which will not be binding on the government if it passes.

The Verkhovna Rada has seen several failed initiatives to have Ukraine follow the US recognition in 2017 of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but the issue has never received the support of so many lawmakers.

Last month, Vlodymyr Zelensky, a Jewish actor, was elected president of Ukraine. During his inauguration speech, he said Ukrainians need to “defend their country like Israelis,” in addition to “learning to live in coexistence like the Swiss.”

View of the new site of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, May 13, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

US President Donald Trump’s decision to move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem in 2017 broke with decades of foreign policy and led to Palestinians cutting diplomatic ties with the US.

In the wake of the US move, several other countries vowed to follow suit, though some have since backtracked or opted to open trade offices in the city instead. Currently beyond the US only Guatemala has an embassy in the capital.

East Jerusalem was captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed in a move never recognized by most of the international community. Palestinians envision East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

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