Czech PM considers moving the embassy to Jerusalem


Central Europe


Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky (R) shakes hands with his Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen. Photo AFP, Michal Cizek

The Czech embassy in Israel is located in Tel Aviv. Now, the Czech Prime Minister says he would support moving the diplomats to Jerusalem. But that is a sensitive issue.

Czechia is known for its staunch support of Israel. Moving the embassy to Jerusalem would fit into that trend, Euractiv reports. Prime Minister Petr Fiala supports the idea, but the coalition partners of the government are not quite convinced yet.

Moving an embassy to Jerusalem is controversial because both Israel and the Palestinians claim the city as their capital. In addition, Muslims, Christians and Jews have many holy sites in and around the city.


At the moment, Czech diplomats have an office in Jerusalem, but their official embassy is located in Tel Aviv, together with most other embassies.

Prime Minister Fiala, however, recently said that he has been personally in favour of "relocating the Czech embassy to Jerusalem" for a long time. He added that he is convinced that this is "a desirable step at present." In addition, he promised to discuss the idea with his coalition partners.

However, the Czech Foreign Minister has already stated his opposition to the plan. He says that moving the embassy would violate international law, contract the EU policies and could even form a security risk "and a possible factor in further escalating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict", he explained.

A large part of the international community considers the east side of Jerusalem to be occupied territory. Israel captured this part of the city in 1967. The Western part, where also the home of the Israeli Prime Minister and the Parliament building are located, has been under Israel's control since the 40s.


The opposition of Czechia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jan Lipavsky, could prevent the plan of moving the embassy to Jerusalem, Euractiv writes.

Czech President Petr Pavel also raised objections. He pointed out that it is inappropriate to debate the issue when Israel is in a state of war. "At present, it is necessary to maintain unity in support for Israel both within Czech politics and at the level of the European Union and other international platforms", he said.


Former Czech Middle East correspondent Jakub Szántó says in an interview with Radio Prague International that moving the embassy would "be a huge show of support for Israel, especially in these very troubled and tragic times." At the same time, he acknowledges that it is not easy to make the move. There are, for example, not many buildings that would have sufficient security guarantees to house diplomats. "Simply put, there is no diplomatic quarter, unlike in Tel Aviv."

Earlier, there were voices to move embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in Hungary, Ukraine and Sweden.



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