Breaking with European consensus, the ambassadors of four EU countries are set to attend a reception Sunday at the Foreign Ministry in honor of the official inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem this week.
The Foreign Ministry invited 86 foreign ambassadors stationed in Israel to the event, a day before the official move. About 40 of them announced their participation, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon said Saturday, including Austria, Czech Republic, Romania, and Hungary.
Most European countries have slammed US President Donald Trump’s move as not in line with international consensus, preferring to wait on recognizing the city until the status of Jerusalem is finalized in talks with the Palestinians.
The EU recently drafted a resolution that would have condemned Trump’s December 6 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv, but the measure was blocked by Prague, Bucharest and Budapest, according to Israel’s Channel 10 news.
On Saturday evening, the union’s delegation to Israel did not deny the report, stating that the “EU and its member states will continue to respect the international consensus on Jerusalem… including on the location of their diplomatic representations until the final status of Jerusalem is resolved.”
EU & its member states will continue to respect the international consensus on Jerusalem embodied in, inter alia UNSCR 478 including on the location of their diplomatic representations until the final status of Jerusalem is resolved https://t.co/laEmiYFYmh https://t.co/j1TwNAwID0
— EU in Israel (@EUinIsrael) May 11, 2018
“The status of Jerusalem is a final status issue. The aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem must be fulfilled, and a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states,” EU Ambassador to the United Nations João Vale de Almeida told The Security Council last month.
Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Michael Oren praised the Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary for blocking the EU’s planned condemnations of the US move, saying on his Twitter account that the EU should be “ashamed” of itself.
Thank you Czech Republic, Romania, and Hungary for blocking EU’s censure of U.S. for moving its embassy to Jerusalem—the spiritual focus of the Jewish people for 3,000 years, the capital of the region’s only democracy for 70. These 3 nations should be proud and the EU ashamed.
— Michael Oren (@DrMichaelOren) May 12, 2018
On Monday, the new US Embassy will be official inaugurated in the capital’s Arnona neighborhood.
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman will preside over the dedication ceremony. US Deputy Secretary John J. Sullivan, Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, Advisor Ivanka Trump, and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt will represent the US at the event.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and other top Israeli officials are also scheduled to attend.
“Seventy years ago, the United States, under President Harry S Truman, became the first nation to recognize the State of Israel,” the US State Department said in a statement released Saturday.
“Moving our Embassy is not a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace deal; rather it is a necessary condition for it. We are not taking a position on final status issues, including the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, nor on the resolution of contested borders.”
Citing Trump’s December 6 speech, the statement said that “the historic opening of our embassy recognizes the reality that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the seat of its government.”
The US Consulate General on Jerusalem’s Agron Street will continue to operate as an “independent mission with an unchanged mandate responsible for U.S. relations with the Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority,” the statement went on.
“The United States continues to support the status quo with regard to the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount. The Administration is firmly committed to pursuing a lasting and comprehensive peace between Israel and the Palestinians that promises a brighter future for both.
— Department of State (@StateDept) May 12, 2018
Some 800 guests are expected to attend Monday’s Embassy inauguration. “These include religious and business leaders, journalists, academics, and government representatives from the United States. We have also invited several Israeli government representatives and political leaders to attend,” a US Embassy official told The Times of Israel last week.
“Given that the focus of the event is on US-Israeli relations, we did not extend an invitation to the foreign diplomatic corps,” the official added.