(May 21, 2018 / JNS) The new Embassy of Paraguay in Jerusalem was opened in the Malha Technological Park on Monday, attended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes, dignitaries, officials and guests.
The new embassy is the third to open in Jerusalem. The United States opened its Jerusalem embassy on May 14, followed by Guatemala two days later, also at the Malha Technological Park.
“The opening of the embassy holds special meaning because it expresses the sincere friendship and the brave solidarity between Paraguay and Israel,” Cartes said at the inauguration ceremony. “Our friendship is based on shared values, such as democracy, tolerance and dignity, lack of discrimination and peaceful coexistence. This is a historic day that strengthens ties between Paraguay and Israel.”
Cartes announced just last month that he was committed to relocating the Paraguayan embassy to Jerusalem before the end of his presidential term in August—a decision made all the more controversial due to reports that president-elect Mario Abdo Benitez was not consulted.
At the event, Netanyahu told Cartes that the opening of the embassy marks “a great day for Israel, a great day for Paraguay, a great day for our friendship.”
He added that “Paraguay, before but especially under your leadership, took a very bold stance in international affairs and refused to cooperate with the lies directed against Israel,” telling Cartes “we always remember that. Thank you, Horacio. Thank you, and thank you, Paraguay.”
He also thanked the nation for its part in saving Jews from the Holocaust by enabling thousands of Jews to emigrate to the country prior to World War II.
Cartes praised Israel as a “country that courageously defends its right to live in peace and is building a praiseworthy, economically prosperous state that ensures its future and that of its children.”
At a meeting earlier in the day with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Cartes expressed love for the Jewish state, saying “this is my second visit to Israel as president, but now I’m sure I will visit more often. I feel at home in Israel.”
“Many ask me why we decided to move the embassy to Jerusalem, and to that I can respond: We’re putting things in the right place,” added Cartes. “We don’t owe you anything, and you don’t owe us anything. This is the right thing to do.”
Palestinian officials expressed outrage at the move, with senior Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official Hanan Ashrawi calling on all world nations to shun and boycott America, Guatemala and Paraguay for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Honduras, the Czech Republic and Romania are also in beginning stages of moving their Israel embassies to Jerusalem.