Palestinians and Arab League condemn opening of Czech Jerusalem office

Published March 14, 2021
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Israeli Public Security Minister Amir Ohana unveil a sign during an inauguration ceremony of a Czech diplomatic representation in Jerusalem on March 11. — Reuters
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Israeli Public Security Minister Amir Ohana unveil a sign during an inauguration ceremony of a Czech diplomatic representation in Jerusalem on March 11. — Reuters

RAMALLAH: The Palestinian Authority and the Arab League on Saturday condemned the Czech Republic’s opening of a diplomatic office in Jerusalem as a violation of international law.

Prague opened a Jerusalem branch of its Israel embassy, which is located in Tel Aviv, on Thursday.

The inauguration was attended by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, two weeks after Israel sent 5,000 Moderna Covid-19 vaccine doses to the Czech Republic under a “vaccine diplomacy” programme that later came under legal scrutiny and was frozen.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry called Prague’s move “a blatant attack on the Palestinian people and their rights, a flagrant violation of international law,” and said it would harm peace prospects.

In Cairo, Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said in a statement: “The legal status of Jerusalem will be affected by the decision of one country or another to open representative offices. East Jerusalem is an occupied land under the International law.” Jerusalem’s status is one of the thorniest issues in the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel annexed the eastern part of the city in a move not recognised internationally, and regards all of Jerusalem as its capital.

The Palestinians seek East Jerusalem, which Israel captured along with the West Bank and Gaza in the 1967 Middle East War, as the capital of a future independent state.

Speaking beside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, Babis said Prague was a strategic partner of Israel, recalling how after 1948 Czechoslovakia helped it maintain its new-found independence by sending deliveries of fighter planes.

At the inauguration ceremony, Babis said it “represents another milestone in our co-operation, it gives evidence that we see the importance of this great city.” Only two countries have full embassies in Jerusalem: the United States — after former US President Donald Trump broke with decades of US policy to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel — and Guatemala.

The Czech Republic is one of Israel’s strongest supporters in the European Union.

Although its formally supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it was named in an International Criminal Court pre-trial decision last month as one of the countries supporting Israel’s argument that the court should not investigate war crimes in the Palestinian territories.

Babis said on Thursday his country regarded the ICCs decision to proceed with an investigation as unfortunate, adding: Though we respect the independence of the court, the Czech Republic doesn’t consider Palestine to be a state, therefore the court has no jurisdiction over it.

Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2021

Opinion

In defamation’s name

In defamation’s name

It provides yet more proof that the undergirding logic of public authority in Pakistan is legal and extra-legal coercion rather than legitimised consent.

Editorial

Mercury rising
Updated 27 May, 2024

Mercury rising

Each of the country's leaders is equally responsible for the deep pit Pakistan seems to have fallen into.
Antibiotic overuse
27 May, 2024

Antibiotic overuse

ANTIMICROBIAL resistance is an escalating crisis claiming some 700,000 lives annually in Pakistan. It is the third...
World Cup team
27 May, 2024

World Cup team

PAKISTAN waited until the very end to name their T20 World Cup squad. Even then, there was last-minute drama. Four...
ICJ rebuke
Updated 26 May, 2024

ICJ rebuke

The reason for Israel’s criminal behaviour is that it is protected by its powerful Western friends.
Hot spells
26 May, 2024

Hot spells

WITH Pakistan already dealing with a heatwave that has affected 26 districts since May 21, word from the climate...
Defiant stance
26 May, 2024

Defiant stance

AT a time when the country is in talks with the IMF for a medium-term loan crucial to bolstering the fragile ...