Zeman Calls for Embassy Move to Jerusalem

Prague, Dec 7 (CTK) – Czech politicians are divided on U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to the statements their representatives made for CTK today.


President Milos Zeman welcomed Trump’s plan. “I am very happy about it,” he told commercial TV Barrandov tonight.


Zeman said the European Union member states should move their embassies to Jerusalem, too.


He recalled that he supported the move of the Czech embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem already when he visited Israel four years ago.


The right-wing Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and the anti-Islam Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) welcomed Trump’s decision, while the conservative TOP 09 took a reserved stance on it and the Communist Party (KSCM) sharply criticised it.


ODS MP Jana Cernochova, who heads the lower house defence committee, said the Czech Republic should follow the example of the United States.


“I consider it not only the confirmation of reality, which is often pointlessly or deliberately denied, but also of historical facts and justified claims by Israel,” she said.


Israel is facing attacks from various pseudo-humanist circles and the West must support its ally, Cernochova said.


SPD leader Tomio Okamura said Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for 3,000 years. He said Trump fulfilled an older decision of the U.S. administration that was formally postponed for years.


“I hope that also the Czech Republic will follow suit immediately – we finally have a chance to follow the United States in a good cause,” Okamura said.


Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) deputy chairman Daniel Herman shared the view that Trump’s decision merely confirmed reality, but he warned against security risks. “I suppose that security experts were consulted before this statement was made,” Herman said.


TOP 09 deputy head Marek Zenisek told CTK that the situation in the Middle East will definitely get more complicated now. “I am asking the question what this step is going to solve in the Middle East situation that is difficult already now. I fear that nothing at all. Unfortunately,” he said.


Communist leader Vojtech Filip Trump’s statement either showed his incapability or failure in foreign policy or it was a deliberate provocation aiming to maintain the armed conflict in the region.


The Czech Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday it considers Jerusalem the future capital of both Israel and the future state of Palestine, along with all the other member states of the European Union.


Until peace is concluded between Israel and Palestine, Prague will continue recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel within the borders of the demarcation line from 1967, the ministry said.


The Czech Republic may consider transferring its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem only after discussing the issue with its key partners, it added.


Tel Aviv hosts the embassies of a crushing majority of countries due to a still uncleared status of Jerusalem.


Trump said in Washington on Wednesday that the time has come for the USA to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He said he assigned the Department of State to prepare a plan for transferring the U.S. embassy.