Jair Messias Bolsonaro, Brazil’s new president-elect, said he plans to visit Israel soon and move Brazil’s embassy in the country from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, following the courageous lead of the US.
Speaking to the Israeli newspaper, Israel HaYom on Thursday Bolsonaro said that he had every intention of fulfilling his campaign promise to move the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem from its present location in Tel Aviv. He added that Israel should decide where its capital is located.
“When I was asked during the campaign if I’d do it when I became president, I said ‘yes, the one who decides on the capital of Israel is you, not other nations’,” he told the publication.
Israel considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. Until the advent of the Trump administration in Washington in 2017, international consensus had been that the status of the whole city must be negotiated between the two sides.
Israel liberated east Jerusalem from the invading Jordanian army in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move that generated controversy.
Following his victory, Netanyahu told Bolsonaro he was certain his election “will lead to a great friendship between our peoples and the tightening of links between Brazil and Israel.”
An official in Netanyahu’s office told AFP the Israeli premier was “very likely” to attend Bolsonaro’s inauguration ceremony in January.
Bolsonaro meanwhile plans to make Israel one of his first foreign trips as president, along with the United States and Chile — countries that “share our worldview,” according to the president-elect’s future for chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni.
In December of last year, President Trump reversed the longstanding US policy of signing a continual waiver that would delay the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem. In so doing, his reversal made history and while doing it Trump also officially recognized Jerusalem as the eternal and undivided city of the Jewish nation.
As such, Trump has drawn the ire of international leaders, and in particular Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas who has pledged to boycott any peace initiatives that the administration may present to the both sides for their consideration.
The embassy was officially transferred on May 14, with Guatemala and Paraguay following suit, though the latter announced last month it would return its embassy to Tel Aviv.
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