An Arab ministerial delegation plans to travel to Brazil in January to convince the incoming Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, not to relocate his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, an official Palestinian source said on Thursday. Bolsonaro announced in November that he intends to relocate the Brazilian Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
“As previously stated during our campaign, we intend to transfer the Brazilian Embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem,” Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter on November 1. “Israel is a sovereign state and we shall duly respect that.”
However, less than a week after the Twitter announcement, Bolsonaro appeared to backtrack, telling reporters in Brasilia the matter “hasn’t yet been decided.”
In late November, Eduardo Bolsonaro, the Brazilian president-elect’s son, said the embassy would be relocated, but said a time-frame for the move had not been set.
“An Arab ministerial delegation intends to travel to Brazil in January to meet the new president” and convince him not to move its embassy in Israel. Bolsonaro has also said he opposes the existence of the Palestinian embassy in Brasilia, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Earlier this month, the Arab League convened a meeting to discuss Brazil’s possible relocation of its embassy in Israel. In a statement following the meeting, the Arab League called on “Bolsonaro to refrain from taking any positions that shall prejudice the legal status of the Holy City of Jerusalem.”
The Israeli government considers all of Jerusalem to be its capital and has encouraged countries to relocate their embassies to there. Meanwhile, the Palestinians seek East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state.
Palestinian officials say Brazil and the Palestinians have historically maintained solid relations. Brazil recognized the State of Palestine in 2010.