Israel welcomes Brazil’s opening of commerce mission in Jerusalem; PA enraged

April 1, 2019 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Israel warmly welcomed Brazil’s announcement that it would establish a trade mission in Jerusalem, thus expanding its diplomatic presence in the capital, while the Palestinian Authority (PA) condemned the move.

President Jair Bolsonaro and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Photo: Kobe Gideon

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Sunday landed in Israel for a historic four-day visit, his first overseas trip as president, while the Brazilian foreign ministry announced it would open a trade office in Jerusalem.

“Recognizing the historic ties of Jerusalem with the Jewish identity and also that the city is the political heart of the State of Israel, I announced today that Brazil will open there a Brazilian office to promote trade, investment and exchange in innovation and technology,” Bolsonaro said on Twitter.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon stated that Israel “can expect this to be a first step before moving the embassy to Jerusalem.”

Bolsonaro stated during his campaign that he would relocate the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem. However, after facing threats of boycotts by Muslim countries if he makes the move, Brazil announced that it is boosting its diplomatic presence in the city with an office that handles trade and economy, a compromise of sorts.

“I congratulate you on the decision to open a trade and developing technology office, an official office of the Brazilian government, in Jerusalem,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated during a joint press conference with Bolsonaro on Sunday night the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem.

“I hope that is a first step toward the opening, in time, of the Brazilian embassy in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu added.

However, the PA’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned, “in the strongest terms”, the Brazilian move.

The Ministry stated it considered the move “a blatant violation of international legitimacy and its resolutions and a direct aggression against the Palestinian people and their rights, as well as an approval to American and Israeli pressures aimed at perpetuating the occupation and settlement activities, the Judaizing and annexing of occupied Jerusalem, and the forceful imposition of the Israeli law on it.”

The ministry threatened it that “will contact the Palestinian ambassador in Brazil for consultations in order to make the appropriate decisions to face such a situation.”

Brazil was the latest country to solidify its diplomatic presence in Jerusalem.

Last month, Romania announced it will relocate its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and Honduras announced it will upgrade its diplomatic presence in Jerusalem with a commercial and cooperation office in Jerusalem.

The US was the first to make the historic move last May. Several countries have followed suit, while others have upgraded their diplomatic presence in the city.

Hungary last month held a dedication ceremony for its new diplomatic trade mission in Jerusalem. The diplomatic trade mission will be a branch of the Hungarian Embassy in Tel Aviv.

“There’s a plot waiting for you right next to the American embassy,” Netanyahu said at the ceremony.

Australia and Russia have recognized west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

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