Czech president undermines peace process in Israel - Palestinians


04.10.2013 16:22

Prague - President Milos Zeman´s proposal to move the Czech embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem undermines the peace process in Israel and thwarts the hitherto efforts to reach agreement, Palestine Liberation Organisation executive committee member Saeb Erekat said in a statement sent to Prague.


Prezident Miloš Zeman. ČTK Ožana Jaroslav

In reaction to the proposal Zeman made at the recent Days of Israel in east Bohemian centre Hradec Kralove, Erekat has asked the League of Arab States and other organisations to convoke extraordinary meetings on the ministerial level.

A crushing majority of countries have their embassies in Israel in Tel Aviv, and only a few states, for example the USA and Italy, have consulates in Jerusalem.

According to an Israeli server, only Bolivia and Paraguay have their embassies in a suburb of Jerusalem.

In August 1980, a U.N. Security Council´s resolution 478 did not recognise the Israeli declaration of Jerusalem as an "eternal and indivisible capital" of Israel and called for local foreign embassies to be moved to Tel Aviv.

Jerusalem´s status continues to be one of the crucial problems of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Zeman, nevertheless, believes that the Czech Republic should have its embassy in Jerusalem.

"I´ve appointed a cabinet of which I can say for sure that if it stayed in office longer, it could support this idea. Since the early election will be held, I´ll wait to see what the new government will be like and I will try to persuade the new prime minister and foreign minister to consider the idea," Zeman said at the Days of Israel on September 30.

Zeman appointed the caretaker cabinet of Jiri Rusnok in July, after the previous right-wing government´s collapse. The cabinet is leading the country to the October early general election.

Erekat wrote that Zeman´s statements amount to a destruction of the peace process and the efforts taken so far to reach agreement on all questions of the final status including Jerusalem.

He wrote that the League of Arab States (LAS), the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) should discuss Zeman´s proposals and react accordingly.

In a recent interview with the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, Zeman, former Czech socialist prime minister, said Palestinian refugees should not insist on returning to the Palestinian autonomous areas. According to Zeman, it would be better to send them to Saudi Arabia.

Zeman is to start a four-day visit to Israel on Sunday. He is to meet his counterpart Shimon Peres and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Prague has pursued pro-Israeli policy for a long time.

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