Arab ambassadors to lobby Brazil on embassy relocation

Ambassadors from Arab countries to meet Brazilian President-elect in order to convince him not to relocate embassy to Jerusalem.

Elad Benari,

Jair Bolsonaro
Jair Bolsonaro

Ambassadors from Arab countries are slated to meet with Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro in the coming days in order to convince him not to relocate his country’s embassy to Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority (PA) envoy to Brazil said on Thursday.

"Brazil should be a mediator, not part of the conflict,” the envoy, Ibrahim Alzeben, was quoted by Channel 10 News as having said.

After being elected, Bolsonaro announced via Twitter that he intended to uphold his campaign promise and move the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem.

“As previously stated during our campaign, we intend to transfer the Brazilian Embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem. Israel is a sovereign state and we shall duly respect that,” he wrote.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu later hailed Bolsonaro's announcement.

"I congratulate my friend Brazilian President-Elect, Jair Bolsonaro, for his intention to move the Brazilian Embassy to Jerusalem, a historic, correct and exciting step!" he said.

Palestinian Arab leaders were not thrilled by Bolsonaro’s announcement. Senior Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official Hanan Ashrawi condemned Bolsonaro's announcement, saying, "These are provocative and illegal steps that will only destabilize security and stability in the region.”

Alzeben recently indicated he would lobby the new government against the move.

"Let's hope it's a campaign announcement. We are hoping that (the incoming government) will maintain Brazil's traditional position, respectful of the United Nations resolutions on the issue," he said earlier this month.