A “Czech House” in Jerusalem will open in November ahead of a full diplomatic mission representing the Czech Republic follows at a later date.
This comes after a similar move by the Trump administration earlier this year.
Jiri Ovcacek, spokesman for Czech President Milos Zeman, confirmed the “Czech House” would host government institutions including the foreign ministry’s Czech Centre, the trade agency CzechTrade and tourism agency CzechTourism. He said local officials were:
…informed about the content, focus and objectives of the official visit of the president of the Czech Republic to Israel in November, including the state of preparations for the opening of the Czech House in Jerusalem. It is to be the first step with the intention to relocate the embassy of the Czech Republic to Jerusalem, in accordance with international law.
The Czech Republic reopened an honorary consulate in the capital last May as a prelude, following its closure in 2016 after the death of the honorary consul.
The Czech embassy move to Jerusalem is deeply symbolic as some of Judaism’s holiest sites are located in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount and Western Wall in Jerusalem; the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron; and Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus.
Czech highest constitutional officials discussed today the opening of the Czech House in Jerusalem, as part of the official visit of President Zeman to Israel this November pic.twitter.com/Wx4PVyCIL3
— Daniel Meron (@AmbMeron) September 12, 2018
There has been a Czech embassy in Tel Aviv since 1949, except for when diplomatic relations with the former Communist regime in Prague were frozen between 1967 and 1990.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a scathing condemnation of the reversal, and called for Israel’s embassy in Asuncion to be shuttered in response.
“Israel views with extreme gravity the unusual decision by Paraguay that will cast a cloud over relations between the countries,” a statement from his office said.
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