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LATIN AMERICA | 27-03-2019 12:34

Palestinian envoy: Brazil's moving Israel embassy to Jerusalem would be illegal

"Moving the embassy of any country... is a violation of international law and an attack on the Palestinian people," says envoy to Brasilia.

Moving Brazil's Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would be an "attack" on Palestinian people and a breach of international law, the Palestinian envoy to the Latin American country said Tuesday. 

The comments by Ibrahim Alzeben come days before Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro makes an official visit to Israel where his earlier pledge to move the Embassy from Tel Aviv is expected to be raised. 

"Moving the Embassy of any country... is a violation of international law and an attack on the Palestinian people," Alzeben told AFP. 

After taking power in January, Bolsonaro reiterated his promise to follow US President Donald Trump's lead in relocating the embassy to Jerusalem. 

The controversial proposal has raised fears the shift could endanger Brazil's valuable meat exports to Arab markets. 

Foreign minister Ernesto Araujo told reporters last week the government was "still studying" the plan. 

The decision to move the Embassy is highly sensitive because Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, while Palestinians view east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Virtually all countries agree that Jerusalem's status can only be defined through wider Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

So far, only the United States and Guatemala have broken with that consensus by opening embassies in Jerusalem. Paraguay backtracked on a decision last year to move its embassy. Israel and the US have spoken with Honduras about its embassy going to Jerusalem.

The Palestinians cut off ties with the Trump administration after its decision was first announced in December, 2017, saying the government's pro-Israel bias meant it could no longer lead peace negotiations between them and Israel.

Bolsonaro will visit Israel from March 31 to April 3.

Alzeben said the Brazilian leader had been invited to visit Palestinian territories, but he had not responded. 

- TIMES/AFP

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