Why more embassies are not moving to Jerusalem
Kehila News, ICEJ Staff, August 11, 2019
In mid-May, we reached the one-year anniversary of the United States opening its embassy in Jerusalem. Many Israelis and their friends worldwide found the occasion worth celebrating. US President Donald Trump certainly made an historic and courageous decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the American Embassy there last May 14, 2018. Indeed, Trump has pointed to the Embassy move as perhaps the biggest and proudest accomplishment of his first two years in office.
Yet the passing of this moment also raised questions as to why more embassies have not been relocated to the Israeli capital since then. What is holding back other national leaders who are friendly to the United States and Israel and who have repeatedly promised to do right by Jerusalem?
Certainly, there was early momentum created by the US Embassy opening. Yet so far, only Guatemala has fully followed the United States’ lead by officially recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving their embassy there. The out-going president of Paraguay also quickly made the move, but his successor just as promptly returned their embassy to Tel Aviv.
The Czech Republic and Slovakia each opened an office for cultural affairs in Jerusalem but did not give these offices diplomatic status. In contrast, Hungary has opened a trade office in Jerusalem and declared it to have diplomatic standing. Elsewhere in Eastern Europe, Romania’s top leaders have made contradictory statements on moving their embassy to Jerusalem.