PM Fiala Proposes Moving Czech Embassy in Israel To Jerusalem “Within Months”

Fiala with Israeli President Isaac Herzog in Prague in July 2022. Credit:

Prague, Oct 13 (CTK) – Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) wants to move the Czech Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem within a few months, he told the Chamber of Deputies yesterday. He said the move was an important symbolic step, despite the complications it entails. 

Fiala made his remarks in response to a question from opposition MP Milan Feranec (ANO) over the government’s time frame for the proposed relocation.

Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky (Pirates) has reservations about the move. Fiala said he is not in dispute with Lipavsky on this issue.

“At least trying to take this symbolic step is the right way. We could bring this to a successful outcome in a matter of months,” the prime minister said. He acknowledged that all aspects of the decision had to be taken into account, including security, but that after the weekend’s terrorist attacks on Israel by the Palestinian Hamas movement, the move should be sped up to show unequivocal support for Israel.

“Israel is the key to peace and tranquillity in the Middle East. Israel’s security as the only fully democratic country in the Middle East is absolutely essential,” Fiala said. He said that Hamas’ actions were aimed at damaging the peace process in the region and preventing Israel from concluding an agreement with Saudi Arabia.

Fiala acknowledged that it would be preferable if more countries decided to move their embassies to Jerusalem at the same time.

Responding to comments on Tuesday from his predecessor and leader of ANO, Andrej Babis, he added that in theory, it would be possible to immediately designate the Czech embassy’s office in Jerusalem as the official embassy, but a full relocation was more meaningful. “We could just install a sign, but that is not how it is done in international politics,” he said.

The prime minister has repeatedly called for the suspension of the EU’s financial aid to the Palestinian territories. “It is not possible to finance the Palestinians in such a way that we have no guarantee that the money will not somehow reach terrorist organisations,” he said. 

The Czech Republic does not fund any humanitarian projects in the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip, but provides controlled aid in the West Bank, Fiala added in response to a question from ANO MP Jaroslava Pokorna Jermanova.

According to Lipavsky, moving the embassy would contravene international law and UN Security Council resolutions, and would not be in line with the EU’s unified position. Moreover, he said, with today’s security turmoil and the escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is not reasonable for the Czech Republic to draw the attention of the international community with such a decisive step.

“I have no quarrel with Minister Lipavsky,” said Fiala. “Lipavsky rather emphasises the risk aspect, whereas I rather emphasise the symbolic and moral-political aspect.” He continued that in his opinion, there was no need for a unified position within the EU.

The chair of the Senate foreign affairs committee Pavel Fischer (independent) and President Petr Pavel are also against the speedy transfer of the embassy.

“In a situation where Israel is in a state of war, the debate about moving the embassy is not appropriate. At the moment, it is above all necessary to maintain unity in support for Israel both within Czech politics and at the level of the European Union and other international platforms,” Pavel said in a statement to CTK on Tuesday.

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