Ireland should move embassy to Jerusalem, Israeli government says

Coveney says US embassy move ‘inflaming an already tense situation’

A worker hangs a road sign directing to the US embassy in Jerusalem earlier this month. Photograph: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

A worker hangs a road sign directing to the US embassy in Jerusalem earlier this month. Photograph: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

 

Ireland should join the US and move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, Israeli government has said.

American officials are in Jerusalem for Monday’s relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested city, a move the Israeli government has embraced but the Palestinians have condemned.

Israeli government spokeswoman Michal Maayan said: “We’re inviting Ireland to join because the issue of Jerusalem, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, it’s going to be the capital of Israel whatever future settlement we will arrive with Palestinians.

“Hence it’s not really a conflict, not for us, not for future agreements and I think we can see also the reaction amongst the Arab world, the rest of the world,” she told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland on Monday. Ireland’s embassy to Israel is located in the town of Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv.

“Everyone thought the sky was going to fall when this resolution passed, when the announcement passed, when we can see that it’s all so natural for the US and other countries.

“So we call on Ireland to join this and to move its embassy. And obviously Jerusalem is going to be a complex issue that will be resolved once the Palestinians return to the table to negotiations, this is going to be one of the issues.

“But moving embassies to Jerusalem isn’t stopping peace, it’s actually helping peace because it’s helping the Palestinians realise that Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish state of Israel and it helps them realise a reality that’s very important to us to go further on.”

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said Ireland would not be moving its embassy to Jerusalem “unless and until there is a comprehensive agreement on a broader peace process”.

He told RTÉ’s News at One that he thought it was “unwise” for the US to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel at this time.

“It is also unwise to move the US embassy to Jerusalem”, he said, because it was “inflaming an already very tense situation and relationship between Palestinians and Israelis”.

Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in a move not recognised internationally.

The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. They view the relocation of the US embassy as a one-sided move that invalidates America’s role as an impartial peace broker in the region.