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Paraguayan President, Horacio Cartes, has made the decision to relocate the Paraguayan embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. Jerusalem is a city filled with political tensions, for both Palestinian and Israeli citizens see it as their rightful capital.
Palestine and Israel both claim the city as their territory, and each nation has passed laws reaffirming this ownership. Following the Six Day War, The Basic Law was passed in Israel, which stated that Jerusalem would serve as the capital for a unified Israel. This law is not internationally accepted, as the United Nations Security Council labelled the law “null and void,” demanding its rescindment. The only nation that abstained from this vote was the United States. The United States has supported Israel with foreign aid and the relationship has become more tense under President Trump.
In just eight days, three countries have moved their embassies. This physical shift shows an acceptance of the violence against Palestinians and normalizes the Basic Law, despite its illegality. Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the inauguration ceremony, displaying diplomacy. The more ceremonies occur, the more legitimate Israel’s control over Palestinian land is in the international community. America’s choice to relocate has allowed other countries to follow again.
Hanan Ashrawi, from the Palestine Liberation Organization, stated that “By adopting such a provocative and irresponsible measure that is in direct contravention of international law and consensus, Paraguay has conspired with Israel, the United States and Guatemala to entrench the military occupation and to seal the fate of occupied Jerusalem.”
The Palestinian Declaration of Independence of 1988 includes the claim that Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Palestine. This was cemented by the Palestinian Authority in 2000, and in 2002 this law was approved by chairman Yasser Arafat. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) then proclaimed East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine in 2017. Despite this, Israel will not allow for any governmental offices representing Palestine to be located in Jerusalem.
Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem conflicted with decades of established foreign policies. The UN has not recognized Israel’s ownership of East Jerusalem. Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including those in Eastern Jerusalem, are illegal according to international law. This illegality is ignored by the Israeli President, and now by other nations as well.
“Following [the U.S.], the embassies of other countries will also move to our capital Jerusalem. The diplomatic blockade has been broken and will be broken,” President Reuven Rivlin stated.
President Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy is pivotal because of the vast influence America holds. Paraguay’s embassy relocation represents a tide shift, for the more nations that side with Israel, the more eradication Palestinians will face. The Czech Republic, Romania, and Honduras are also looking towards moving their embassies.
In regards to Paraguay specifically, President Cartes is incredibly controversial within his own country. He is a billionaire who faced accusations of drug smuggling involvement and has consistently demeaned the LGBTQ+ community with slurs. Cartes is a part of the right-wing Colorado party, and his background in business mirrors that of President Trump.
While some world leaders are siding with Israel, the overall consensus has been that Jerusalem’s status must be determined in a peace agreement between the two parties themselves. Currently, one side is using the political heft of certain other countries to win the capital, as opposed to engaging in dialogue with Palestine.