Brazil’s president-elect Jair Bolsonaro reiterated that he plans to move Brazil’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, joining the United States and Guatemala.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly welcomed the plan.
In a tweet on Thursday, Mr Bolsonaro said: “As previously stated during our campaign, we intend to transfer the Brazilian Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“Israel is a sovereign state and we shall duly respect that.”
It was the first time since being elected Sunday that Mr Bolsonaro referred to his plan to move the embassy.
In Israel, Mr Netanyahu issued a statement praising Mr Bolsonaro. “I congratulate my friend Brazilian President-Elect, Jair Bolsonaro, for his intention to move the Brazilian Embassy to Jerusalem, a historic, correct and exciting step!”
Mr Netanyahu spoke to Mr Bolsonaro earlier this week, congratulating him on his victory and inviting him to visit Israel.
If Mr Bolsonaro follows through on his pledge, Brazil would become the third country to have an embassy in Jerusalem, after the US and Guatemala.
Paraguay briefly moved its embassy to Jerusalem as well, only to move it back to Tel Aviv after its new president, Mario Abdo Benitez, was elected.
The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, as the capital of a future state. Israel claims all of the city, including the eastern sector, home to Jerusalem’s most important religious sites, as its eternal capital.
The move was condemned by Yachad, a British group who campaign against Israel’s presence in the West Bank. They said on Twitter: “Attempts to alter Jerusalem’s geopolitical status should take place within the context of negotiated agreements, not unilateral declarations. There will be no ‘ultimate deal’ between Israelis and Palestinians without both Israeli and Palestinian capitals in Jerusalem.”
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