By Middle East Affairs
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that “at least half a dozen” nations were in serious discussions with Israel about moving their embassies to Jerusalem, Reuters reported.
U.S. President Donald Trump decided in December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the United States embassy there. Most of the global community does not recognize Israel’s nor Palestine’s claims that Jerusalem is their capital, saying the two states should negotiate it among themselves. Most embassies in Israel are located in Tel Aviv.
Trump’s decision angered many of the United States’ Arab allies and increased tensions between Israel and Palestine. The “Great March of Return” protests that began March 30 in Gaza are set to culminate on May 14, Israel’s 70th Independence Day and when the U.S. Embassy is set to open its doors in Jerusalem.
“In order to promote peace … move your embassies here,” Reuters reported Netanyahu as saying during a reception in Jerusalem celebrating the 70th anniversary.
Guatemala decided to move its embassy shortly after the U.S. announcement, but Netanyahu did not specify which other countries are considering the move, too.
“I am pleased to say that there are at least half a dozen countries that are currently talking seriously to us about moving their embassies to Jerusalem,” he said.
The first 10 embassies to relocate to Jerusalem will receive “preferential treatment,” he said, without elaborating on what that would mean.
The U.S. embassy in Jerusalem will temporarily be inside a U.S. consular section until a permanent embassy is built, which Reuters said could take years.