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Czech MPs in global push to move embassies to Jerusalem

We want to express our will to stand on the right side of this legal battle and to overturn the false legal arguments,” said Czech MP Miloslav Janulík.

Israel Allies Foundation policy conference in Prague in June 2023. Credit: Courtesy.
Israel Allies Foundation policy conference in Prague in June 2023. Credit: Courtesy.

A group of Czech parliamentarians on Wednesday launched an international campaign to encourage countries to relocate their embassies to Jerusalem in the wake of Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel, as pressure mounted in Prague for such a move.

Three days after the attack, the Czech Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution calling on the government to move the Embassy of the Czech Republic to Jerusalem.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala subsequently said that the Czech Republic may move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv “in a matter of months” to show support for Israel.

“Even now, horrified by the bestial acts of Hamas, we want to think about the future,” said Czech MP Miloslav Janulík. “We want to express our will to stand on the right side of this legal battle and to overturn the false legal arguments.”

Janulík, who heads the Czech Israel Allies Caucus, spearheaded an international legal conference entitled “Embassies in Jerusalem and International Law” at the Czech House of Representatives to present the legal arguments under international law supporting the transfer of embassies to Jerusalem.

“At this time, Israel should feel the power of international solidarity in practical actions,” said Caucus Director Karel Sedláček. “Moving embassies to Jerusalem is one of them.”

The Czech Republic is one of Israel’s closest allies in Europe, but until now has kept its embassy in Tel Aviv in keeping with E.U. foreign policy despite parliamentary support for the move.

“I believe the situation now is such that we should speed it up to unequivocally support Israel,” said Fiala when asked about a potential move.

“It is an issue that can be resolved in a matter of months, not years and not weeks,” he said, just days after his foreign minister warned against such a move, asserting it would be illegal and also risky at such a time.

The conference held this week sought to show that the move was both in keeping with international law and the right thing to do.

Five countries have their embassies in Jerusalem: the United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Kosovo and Papua New Guinea.

The remainder of the 175 countries that have ties with Israel still maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv or in Tel Aviv suburbs due to the political sensitivities over the capital city.

Before the Hamas attack,  Paraguay, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo had announced their intention to move their embassies to Jerusalem. The six week-old war has delayed their openings.

The Czech Republic would be the first European Union state to move its embassy to Jerusalem.

“What has started in the Czech Republic is the beginning of an international movement of solidarity with Israel by recognizing Jerusalem as the indivisible capital of Israel and encouraging countries worldwide to move their embassies to Jerusalem,” said Israel Allies Foundation Europe Executive Director Leo van Doesburg. “This support for Israel is particularly meaningful during these difficult times.”

Mobilizing support for Israel worldwide through faith-based diplomacy, the Israel Allies Foundation has emerged as a powerhouse with its network of pro-Israel caucuses around the world based on shared Judeo-Christian values.

Over the last two decades, it has formed partnerships over 50 caucuses around the world that make up a network of more than 1,200 legislators working to promote Israel in their respective parliaments.

“Israel’s establishment of Jerusalem as its capital should not be a matter for debate,” said Israel Allies President Josh Reinstein. “We commend our allies in the Czech House of Representatives for standing on the side of truth.”

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