TEL AVIV – The Czech Republic on Wednesday endorsed relocating the country’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, following the U.S.’s move in May of this year.
The Czech president, prime minister, parliament speaker and the foreign and defense ministers released a joint statement declaring that the inauguration of a “Czech House” in Jerusalem in November would be “the first step in the plan to move the Czech embassy to Jerusalem.”
The Czech House would include government institutions such as the foreign ministry’s Czech Center, the trade agency CzechTrade and tourism agency CzechTourism, AFP reported, citing the spokesman for President Milos Zeman.
“The Czech House in Jerusalem will be ceremonially opened by Mr. President during his visit to Israel in November,” Jiri Ovcacek said.
Zeman, a 73-year-old veteran left-winger who is known for his pro-Israel views, expressed support for the move before the U.S. transferred its own embassy there.
Last week, Paraguay announced it will move its embassy back to Tel Aviv less than four months after it followed the U.S.’s lead and relocated it to Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a scathing condemnation of the reversal, and called for Israel’s embassy in Asuncion to be shuttered.
“Israel views with extreme gravity the unusual decision by Paraguay that will cast a cloud over relations between the countries,” a statement from his office said.
The Palestinian Authority responded by saying it would “immediately” open an embassy in Paraguay, according to a statement later that day by Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki.