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Czech FM: Embassy will remain in Tel Aviv, in line with international law

Nov. 15, 2018 10:08 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 4, 2018 4:40 P.M.)
Palestinian flags raised in Prague, Czech Republic's capital
By: Jennifer Janineh
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Czech Republic’s Foreign Minister, Tomas Petricek, confirmed, on Wednesday, that Czech Republic’s position on Jerusalem is in line with international law and the European Union (EU), according to the Palestinian Foreign Ministry.

The Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Riyad al-Malki, met with Petricek in the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah and urged the Czech Republic not to move its embassy to Jerusalem as its president had said he would do.

Petricek said his country’s position on “Jerusalem is in line with international law and the European Union’s position,” he added that “the Czech House that will open in Jerusalem during the first visit of Czech Republic President, Milos Zeman, to Israel at the end of November.”

Petricek noted that the Czech House “does not have any diplomatic status and is only a cultural center.”

He reiterated that the Czech Republic supports the two-state solution as stipulated in the international resolutions.

Al-Malki told Petricek that what Israel is doing in occupied East Jerusalem, such as “illegal settlements, displacing its Palestinian residents, and turning it into an Israeli city, jeopardizes the future of the holy city.”

“International law recognizes Jerusalem as an occupied territory and rejects any changes to its legal status.”

Petricek stressed that Czech Republic will continue to support the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and development projects in Palestine.

In September, Israeli news media published reports concerning Czech Republic's alleged intention to transfer its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, however, it contradicted Czech Republic's position in the European Union and its commitment to policies regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Czech-language news outlets, such as Seznam, Zpravy Aktualne and iDnes, explained the highly-publicized issue at the time and published details concerning the alleged Czech embassy opening in Jerusalem, reporting it is “misleading information.”

The controversy began after Zeman mentioned that he hopes that the opening of the Czech House would be "the first step in the plan to move the Czech embassy to Jerusalem."

Regardless of Zeman’s remark, Czech Republic’s the diplomatic stance will remain as it is, with the Czech Honorary Consulate, as well as the Czech House in Jerusalem and the embassy in Tel Aviv.

The Czech Prime Minister, Andrej Babis, who opposed the embassy move endorsed by Zeman, said in a statement "We are a small country, but the big countries should be the ones to strive for peace. We have to fight situations, where a conflict is expected to happen and where possible protests or attacks could take place."

Czech Republic’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that the Czech House in Jerusalem is not an alternative for the Czech embassy in Tel Aviv, neither is it in violation of any international laws or UN resolutions.

Despite the alleged intention of the Czech Republic to move its embassy to Jerusalem, it does not currently plan to follow in the footsteps of the United States and Guatemala, and remains committed to international policies regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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