Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 July 2019

Moldova urged to cancel Israel embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

The relocation would make the tiny nation the first in Europe to have an official representation in Jerusalem

A picture taken on June 4, 2019 from the Mount of Olives shows a partial view of the Old City of Jerusalem with the Dome of the Rock (R) and the al-Aqsa Mosque (L). AFP
A picture taken on June 4, 2019 from the Mount of Olives shows a partial view of the Old City of Jerusalem with the Dome of the Rock (R) and the al-Aqsa Mosque (L). AFP

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has called on Moldova to U-turn on its decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The pan-Arab organisation said in a statement that the country should "reverse this decision and respect its legal and political obligations under international law and resolutions", Palestinian news agency Wafa reported on Sunday.

The small Eastern European country is in the midst of a political and constitutional crisis. So its interim government trying to hold on to power is taking an atypical approach to shore up support: moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Announcing the move on Tuesday, interim Prime Minister Pavel Filip also pledged to push forward with a land deal for constructing a new American embassy in Moldova. He tied both decisions to the political unrest, in which pro-Russian and pro-European Union parties have been in a deadlock trying to oust Mr Filip’s ruling oligarch-led party since elections in February.

“We are in the situation to urgently adopt these decisions taking into account the political instability and uncertainty in the country, but also the latest political developments whereas one of the political parties that constantly blocked these two projects is attempting an illegal takeover of power,” said Mr Filip, a former prime minister with the Democratic Party of Moldova, which is led by a controversial oligarch.

“These are two commitments that we have previously undertaken and we want to make sure they will be respected, regardless of what happens after the snap elections” now happening in September.

He added: “Both projects are commitments undertaken by the government of the Republic of Moldova, and the government acted in order to avoid their long term blockage by the political crisis in the country.”

Moldova's decision to move its embassy would make it the first European country to have an official representation in Jerusalem. Israel occupied east Jerusalem in 1967, which Palestinians claim as the capital of their future state. The United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem in May, which Palestinians condemned as violating the longstanding principle that Jerusalem’s situation was to be decided in final status negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority quickly condemned Moldova's move.

Its foreign ministry said that Mr Filip had “implicated his country in a violation of international law and the UN Charter to keep rule in his hand or to win American and Israeli support".

Hanan Ashrawi of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation executive committee called on the EU to take action against Moldova, which is not an EU member.

“The European Union should halt Moldova's political and economic integration until the latter rescinds its illegal and provocative action and realigns its policy with international law and the collective EU position regarding the Palestinian question,” she said, according to the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa.

Updated: June 16, 2019 01:04 PM

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