Czech president vows to move embassy to occupied Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Published: Wed, 28-November-2018

Czech President Milos Zeman on Monday vowed to do whatever he can to move his country’s embassy to occupied Al-Quds (Jerusalem) city, but acknowledged that he does not have the authority to do so.

During a brief speech to the Knesset — the first ever of a Czech leader to Israel’s parliament — Zeman expressed solidarity with Israel and chastised Europeans for being “cowards” who, because of their political correctness, fail to call out terrorism, in reference to anti-occupation resistance.

In April, Zeman announced the beginning of a three-stage process to move the country’s diplomatic missions from Tel Aviv to occupied Al-Quds (Jerusalem). The first step was the appointment of an honorary consul in Al-Quds (Jerusalem).

The second step will be Tuesday’s opening of the so-called Czech House, an office space in the city’s Cinematheque, where Czech diplomats will conduct meetings but which will have no official diplomatic status.

“Well, friends, I am no dictator, unfortunately,” Zeman told the Knesset plenum, speaking in English, without prepared remarks. “But — I promise I’ll do my best in order to realize the third step, after [the] honorary consulate and after [the] Czech House and you can guess what is to be the third step.”

As president, Zeman has limited executive power. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis has previously voiced opposition to a full-fledged relocation of the embassy in Israel, citing the policy of the European Union, which is staunchly opposed to the move.

“We Europeans… I speak about the EU, in fact, are sometimes hesitating,” he said. “We sometimes are cowards. It is very impolite, isn’t it? But I am afraid it is frank. And that’s why it is necessary all the time the solidarity with Israel. Because [if we] betray Israel, we betray ourselves.”

Zeman said the Czech Republic may be Israel’s best friend in the world, adding that he himself is “best friend of Israel in my own country.”

Addressing the plenary before Zeman, Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at considerable length about the storied history of Czech Jewry. He also recalled some historical highlights of the Czech-Israel friendship, claiming that Czech leaders were supportive of Zionism before Israel was founded and, after 1948, provided it with vital diplomatic and military support.

Netanyahu hailed Zeman as a “great leader who defends the truth,” comparing him to other important Czech statesmen such as Tomáš Masaryk.

He also thanked Zeman for his efforts to move the Czech Embassy to occupied Al-Quds (Jerusalem). “You were one of the first leaders in this generation to recognize Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as Israel’s capital,” he claimed.

Source: Palestinian Information Center