PA blasts Hungary, Romania and Czechs for blocking EU censure of US embassy move

Palestinians accuse countries of violating international law, say their ties with Arab and Islamic worlds will suffer

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis during a joint press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on March 10, 2016. (AFP/Abbas MomaniI)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis during a joint press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on March 10, 2016. (AFP/Abbas MomaniI)

The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday accused Hungary, Romania, and the Czech Republic of violating international law, after a report said the countries worked with Israel to block EU condemnation of the US’s embassy’s move to Jerusalem.

In a statement carried by the official Palestinian news agency Wafa, the PA said the countries’ stance was in opposition to European Union policy, United Nations resolutions, and the Geneva Convention. It said Budapest, Bucharest, and Prague would suffer consequences for their actions, in particular in their ties with the Arab and Islamic worlds.

The PA also called on other countries not to follow the US in moving its embassy to the Israeli capital and said it would take legal action against any country that does so.

The PA condemnation of Hungary, Romania, and the Czech Republic came after a Channel 10 report Friday said Israel teamed up with the three countries to block a resolution sought by France, which sought to present a unified European front against Washington’s move.

According to the report, the draft resolution stated that Jerusalem should be the capital of two states — Israel and Palestine; that the status of Jerusalem should only be resolved as part of peace negotiations; and that EU nations will not follow the US in moving their missions to the holy city.

The Czech Republic’s president has voiced support for moving the country’s embassy to Jerusalem, though the move is opposed by the prime minister. Romania’s prime minister has also spoken in favor of such a relocation, opposed by that country’s president.

A new road sign directing motorists to the the US consulate in Jerusalem that will be inaugurated as the US embassy, on May 7, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

On Wednesday Hadashot TV news reported that European diplomats will skip a Foreign Ministry event next week, marking the opening of the American embassy which will operate at the site of a US consulate facility in the capital.

Despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu inviting the entire foreign diplomatic corps to Sunday’s event, many European envoys, including those from the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, will boycott the ceremony, the report said.

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat on Monday called on foreign dignitaries in Israel and around the world to stay away so as not to endorse what he called Washington’s “flagrant violations of international law.”

“As Washington pursues a policy of encouragement of international anarchy and disregard for organizations and international law, we call upon all diplomatic corps, civil society organizations, and religious authorities to boycott the inauguration ceremony of the US embassy in Jerusalem, lest they lend legitimacy to an illegal decision and to continued Israeli policies of occupation, colonization, and annexation,” Erekat said.

US President Donald Trump’s December 6 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to relocate the embassy there “is not only illegal but will also thwart the achievement of a just and lasting peace between two sovereign and democratic states on the 1967 borders, Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security,” Erekat’s statement went on.

The Palestinians have adamantly rejected Trump’s policy on Jerusalem and have effectively avoided any contact with US officials since the decision.

Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat speaks at the Haaretz and New Israel Fund conference in New York City on December 13, 2015. (Amir Levy/Flash90)

Sunday’s Foreign Ministry event will also mark Guatemala’s opening of its embassy in the city next week and will be attended by Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales. Guatemala announced weeks after Trump it would move its embassy to Jerusalem, making it the second country to do so.

Paraguay on Wednesday confirmed it will also move its embassy to Jerusalem, after Nahshon said Monday that Paraguay President Horacio Cartes will travel to Israel later this month for the inauguration.

Raphael Ahren and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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