Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Israel

Newsline: Trump reassures Palestinians embassy not moving to Jerusalem

US President Donald Trump responded to the King of Jordan’s request that the United States refrain from moving the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Arab media reported on Saturday. The Palestinian daily, Al-Quds, reported that the Trump administration transferred a message to the Palestinian Authority that the embassy would not be moving to Jerusalem. So despite constant promises from Trump that the US Embassy in Israel would be moving to Jerusalem, he has no such plans.


Newsline: Trump says thinking ‘very seriously’ on Jerusalem embassy move

US President Donald Trump does not believe Israeli settlement growth in Palestinian territories is “good for peace”, he told a paper Friday, in his most direct comments on the matter since inauguration. In the interview published in Hebrew by the Israel Hayom newspaper, Trump also said he was thinking “seriously” about moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a move fiercely opposed by the Palestinians. Speaking to the newspaper ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington next week, Trump was quoted as saying he was “not someone who believes that advancing settlements is good for peace”. The international community considers settlements in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem illegal and says they risk destroying hopes for peace with the Palestinians.


Newsline: Palestinians view US embassy relocation to Jerusalem as ‘a war crime’

If the Trump’s White House approves the relocation, it would overturn decades of international consensus on Jerusalem. The message to the Palestinians and Arab world would be clear and provocative, said Nabil Shaath, a senior Palestinian official and former Palestinian foreign minister. “Moving the embassy is the same as recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s united capital. It’s a war crime,” he told Al Jazeera. “There’s no way we or the Arab world could accept it. It would mean the end of the US as the broker of the peace process. We would fight back and mobilise the rest of the world against the move.” The Israeli army has been advising the government of Benjamin Netanyahu on the possible fallout too, according to a report last week in the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth. A change of address would be seen as a US green light for Israel to extend its sovereignty over the city and its holy places, including the al-Aqsa mosque, in the view of Israeli military intelligence. Reactions could include mass protests from the Islamic movements inside Israel; riots in the occupied Palestinian territories and neighbouring states such as Jordan, which is the official guardian of al-Aqsa; and the collapse of Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority.


Newsline: Israel summons Swedish ambassador over Palestinian state

Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s office said on Sunday that it will summon the Swedish ambassador to protest the decision of newly-elected Prime Minister Stefan Lofven’s decision to recognize the Palestinian state. Late on Saturday, Lieberman said in a statement that he ” regrets” that the Swedish Prime Minister “was in a hurry to make statements on Sweden’s position regarding recognition of a Palestinian state, apparently before he had time even to study the issue in depth.” In his inaugural address to parliament on Friday, Lofven said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be resolved by a two- state solution which “requires mutual recognition and the will to co-exist peacefully.” “Sweden will therefore recognize the State of Palestine,” Lofven said, but did not mention how or when it would be done. Israel fears that other major European countries will follow Sweden to recognize a Palestinian state.


Newsline: Israel appoints first female ambassador to Jordan

Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced that it appointed its first female ambassador to an Arab state, with seven out of 12 of its new appointments being women. Einat Shlain, a Foreign Ministry employee of 22 years, will take up her post as ambaddasor to Jordan in 10 months, Haaretz reported. She served in Amman at the beginning of her diplomatic career, as well as in Israel’s embassy in Washington. She currently heads the international division of the Foreign Ministry’s diplomatic research center. Female ambassadors were also appointed to France, Romania, Bulgaria, Belgium, Cyprus and China. New ambassadors were set to take up their positions in Spain, Mexico, Azerbaijan, Slovakia and Ireland.


Newsline: Israel’s Rejection of New Zealand Ambassador May Spark Diplomatic Row

New Zealand ambassador to Israel Jonathan Curr has been rejected by Israeli officials because the diplomat was reportedly accredited to the Palestinian Authority. According to reports, Curr was scheduled to travel to Israel within the week to present his official documents to Israeli President Reuven. When Curr revealed he was also planning to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, Israel had expressed its disagreement to the said meeting. Israeli ministry officials told Curr he acted against diplomatic protocol. Israeli paper Haretz reported that the new Kiwi ambassador had to cancel his trip for Israel. The rejection may spark a diplomatic row between New Zealand and Israel. New Zealand does not have an embassy in Israel because its relations are maintained in its embassy in Ankara covering several nations in the region. According to reports, New Zealand’s ambassador to Turkey serves as a non-resident diplomat to Israel and visits Jerusalem for monthly meetings. Curr’s visit to Ramallah was not supposed to be a full presentation of his credentials since New Zealand does not recognise Palestine as a state. He was only to give a letter of introduction containing his appointment as New Zealand’s ambassador who also maintains ties with the Palestinian Authority. When Israel’s Foreign Ministry heard of the news, it accused Curr of diplomatic protocol violation. Israel strictly observes rules that prevent an ambassador to gain credentials from both Israel and the Palestine Authority. Israeli officials said that unless Curr will remove his “dual credentials,” he will not be allowed to act as ambassador to Israel. Reports said Curr was surprised to learn of Israel’s rejection since his two predecessors have served as ambassador to Israel and the Palestine Authority without any objection from the officials. He was informed that the previous New Zealand ambassadors who served before him presented their credentials to Abbas without Israel’s knowledge. The Foreign Ministry suggested a low-ranking diplomat from New Zealand’s embassy in Turkey should be the one to present the credentials and handle ties with Palestine. The suggestion had allegedly insulted Curr who told officials they should not be telling New Zealand how to handle its diplomatic affairs.


Newsline: South Korea Sends Diplomat to Palestine Separate from Israel

A diplomat representing the Korean government has been officially dispatched to Palestine. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on August 28, Park Woong-cheol, the newly appointed representative to the State of Palestine, began working around the clock at the office in Ramallah, the de facto administrative capital, from the 25th with one local employee. Although the Korean government opened a representative office in Palestine in 2005, there was no full-time diplomat and instead a counselor at the Korean Embassy in Israel crossed the border twice a week to perform the necessary work. The main reason the government assigned a full-time diplomat in Palestine separate from Israel has to do with the fact that it is aware of the increasing importance of the Arab World to Korea in terms of trade opportunities other than energy. The government recently offered to donate US$1 million to the Palestine government to help rebuild the Gaza Strip that was severely damaged by Israeli airstrikes.