3 New Countries to Open Embassies in Jerusalem?!?!?!
Updated: Sep 8, 2020
The diplomatic breakthroughs just keep on coming around here. Fresh on the heels of the UAE and Israel opening up official relations - and Saudi Arabia and Bahrain both allowing Israel to use their airspace for flights to and from Abu Dhabi - we now have a number of countries making official announcements regarding recognizing Israel's capital.
Kosovo - a Muslim-majority state in the Balkans - has recognized Israel, though the bigger news might be that Israel recognized Kosovo. The amazing thing is that they are planning to open their embassy in Jerusalem. Not to be outdone, their rival Serbia is planning to do the same (though it may come as a surprise to their president - see the article below). This came out of a meeting at the White House to upgrade their own bilateral relations. Meanwhile, the new president of the African country of Malawi (an Evangelical Christian with a PhD in Theology) has announced that he will open up a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem as well (Israel and Malawi have had ties for decades but no actual embassies).
Currently only the USA and Guatemala have their embassies in Jerusalem. Other countries such as Brazil, Paraguay and Uganda have recently discussed it. Costa Rica and El Salvador used to have their embassies in Jerusalem until 2006.
One of the barriers to moving the embassies to Jerusalem - which is never discussed - has nothing to do with politics. Many diplomats frankly prefer to be in the Tel Aviv region. That's where the business, tech, nightlife and culture are all happening, not to mention the beach. And as opposed to Jerusalem, it doesn't close down on Shabbat, but rather comes even more alive. Jerusalem, even if it has taken huge steps in the last decade in regards to business, tech and culture, is still by far the more religiously conservative city. And when it tried to make a "beach in Jerusalem" a few years back, it quickly just ended up as a giant litter box for the litany of street cats that prowl the city. In any case, Jerusalem is only a short ride away when necessary which makes living there not a necessity, and to many diplomats, not preferable, no matter the politics.
For more on these developing stories click here:
Update: There is a reason the title of this post had as many question marks as exclamation points, and I mentioned countries who supposedly were going to move their embassies but haven't done so [yet]. Talk and action are two completely different things and the political and economic pressure on countries to "toe the line' when it comes to Israel and Jerusalem, sadly, can be immense. Already, within a day, we can see some backtracking likely about to happen...
Meanwhile former Israeli diplomats are already weighing in on the matter and dropping a heavy dose of skepticism/reality: https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/israeli-ex-envoys-blast-deals-with-kosovo-serbia-641333
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