PA condemns Brazil over Jerusalem trade office

PA says Brazil's opening of trade office in Jerusalem is a "direct aggression against the Palestinian people".

Elad Benari ,

Jair Bolsonaro and Binyamin Netanyahu
Jair Bolsonaro and Binyamin Netanyahu
Kobi Gideon/GPO

The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) “foreign ministry” on Sunday condemned the announcement by Brazil regarding the opening of a trade office with diplomatic status in Jerusalem.

In a statement quoted by the PA’s official Wafa news agency, the bureau said it “considered this position a blatant violation of international legitimacy and its resolutions and a direct aggression against the Palestinian people and their rights, as well as an approval to American and Israeli pressures aimed at perpetuating the occupation and settlement activities, the Judaizing and annexing of occupied Jerusalem, and the forceful imposition of the Israeli law on it.”

The bureau stressed that it will “contact the Palestinian ambassador in Brazil for consultations in order to make the appropriate decisions to face such a situation.”

The “ministry” also reaffirmed that “Jerusalem is an integral part of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 and that the decisions made by the American administration and the Israeli occupation, and those who follow them will not give the occupation a right to East Jerusalem and its surroundings.”

Earlier on Sunday, Brazil’s Foreign Minister, Ernesto Araujo, confirmed that his country will be opening a trade office in Jerusalem, adding that the move would not come in place of the promised embassy move – but would be the first step towards an embassy relocation.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who arrived for a visit in Israel on Sunday, fueled speculation that his government might renege on his campaign promise to move the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem, after he told local reporters his government might open a “business office” in Jerusalem.

Days earlier, Araujo said the foreign ministry was “still studying” the idea of relocating the embassy to Jerusalem, leading to speculation Brazil may be concerned about the future of its trade with Arab countries if it relocates its embassy to the Israel capital city.

Bolsonaro announced after his election that he intended to uphold his campaign promise and move the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem.

While Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hailed Bolsonaro's announcement, Arab leaders have condemned the move and have pressured him not to go through with it.

The Arab League recently warned Bolsonaro that moving his country’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would be a setback for relations with Arab countries.

Last week, the PA envoy to Brazil, Ibrahim Alzeben, said that moving that country’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would be an "attack" on Palestinian people and a breach of international law.