Palestinians Threaten to Cut Ties After 3 Countries Announce Jerusalem Embassies

Saeb Erekat and Mahmoud Abbas (Fethi Belaid / AFP / Getty)
Fethi Belaid / AFP / Getty

The Palestinian Authority warned on Sunday that it would cut ties with any country that opened its embassy in Jerusalem, after Serbia, Kosovo, and Malawi announced their intentions to open diplomatic missions in the Israeli capital.

“Palestine will sever its relations with any country that will move or open its embassy to Jerusalem,” senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said in a tweet.

“Violating international law is a sign of weakness not strength,” Erekat added.

“International law specified occupation by force of other people’s territory is the highest form of terrorism. Enough lies and blackmail. No one can normalize Israeli settlements, annexation and occupation,” Erekat went on.

At no point was Jerusalem ever Palestinian territory. The eastern part of the city — which had been under Jordanian occupation for 19 years — was liberated by Israel during the 1967 defensive Six Day War.

Israel formalized that move in 1980 with the Basic Law – Jerusalem, which affirmed the protection of Jerusalem’s holy sites for all religions. That law was roundly rejected at the UN and the international community has since eschewed recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The eastern part of the city has been earmarked in several peace plans as the capital of a future Palestinian state – including President Donald Trump’s.

Newly appointed Malawian president, Lazarus Chakwera, an Evangelical ardent pro-Israel supporter, on Saturday announced his intention to establish his country’s first embassy in Jerusalem.

If Chakwera goes through with his promise, it would be the first African country to take this step.

Serbia and Kosovo also announced their plans to open an embassy in Jerusalem, with the latter agreeing to exchange diplomatic ties with Israel in return for recognition.

The only two countries to have relocated their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem are the U.S. and Guatemala.

Australia, Brazil, Honduras and Hungary have opened diplomatic trade missions in the Israeli capital.

During a secret meeting in Entebbe in February, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the possibility of establishing  embassies in each other’s territory.

Kosovo’s announcement would be the first embassy in Jerusalem from a Muslim-majority nation.

“The circle of peace and recognition of Israel is expanding and additional countries are expected to join it,” Netanyahu said in a statement following the announcements made by the Balkan rival nations.

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