Social Democrat Party leader Liviu Dragnea gestures after leaving the Romanian anti-corruption prosecutors headquarters in Bucharest, Romania, November 13, 2017. Inquam Photos/Octav Ganea/via REUTERS
CAIRO - 20 April 2018: Defying Arabs, Muslims and the European Union, Romania’s government announced on Thursday its willingness to relocate the Romanian Embassy to Jerusalem. Romania is the third country to move its embassy to Jerusalem and the first European country to make such a move.
“Romania is moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The move has already begun, a memorandum has been approved,” said the leader of the ruling Social Democratic Party.
The head of the ruling Social Democratic Party, Liviu Dragnea, told Romanian TV channel ANTENA 3 that the Romanian prime minister had ratified on Wednesday the memorandum to start the necessary procedures to move the embassy to Jerusalem.
The Cabinet’s spokesperson refused to comment on those remarks, according to France Press Agency, noting that the memorandum’s ratification took place without the signature of the Romanian foreign minister who is in a tour in Tunisia.
Despite the fact that the relocation of the Romanian embassy to Jerusalem is “symbolic” to Romania, this decision is deemed internationally as a defiance to all the countries and organizations which condemned the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. “This decision has a huge symbolic value for bilateral relations with Israel,” Dragnea stressed.
In a quick response to Romania’s decision, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said “such a step would constitute a violation of the rights of the Palestinians and would be contrary to international resolutions.”
After meeting with the Romanian representative, Hamdallah stressed that the transfer of the Romanian embassy would “further remove the chances for peace.”
A few hours after Trump’s controversial decision, the EU, which Romania joined in 2007, expressed serious concern over that move, saying it could cause repercussions for peace prospects.
"The aspirations of both parties must be fulfilled and a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states," EU Foreign Affairs Chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement according to Reuters.
Romania has not announced the timeline of the embassy’s relocation, While the U.S. embassy is expected to open on May 14, and Guatemala will open an embassy in Jerusalem on May 16.
Earlier, on Dec. 6, U.S. President Donald Trump announced the relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, marking it an official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.
Trump’s decision was met with mass rejection and condemnation from all Arab and Muslim countries and most European and western powers.
A few months later, Guatemala followed the U.S.’s footsteps and announced its willingness to move its embassy to Jerusalem. “In May of this year, we will celebrate Israel’s 70th anniversary, Guatemala will return and permanently move its embassy to Jerusalem,” Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales said.
In 1959, Guatemala was the first country to open its embassy in Jerusalem, but later moved it to Tel Aviv following international rejection of Israeli claims to East Jerusalem.