The elected president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, reaffirmed on Thursday his campaign promise to move the embassy of his country in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, on the path inaugurated by the United States.
"As stated during the campaign, we intend to transfer the Brazilian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel is a sovereign state and we respect it," tweeted the far-right Bolsonaro, who will take office on January 1.
In a press conference at his residence in Rio de Janeiro, Bolsonaro said: "We respect the people of Israel and the Arab people, we do not want to create problems with anyone, we want to trade with the whole world, look for peaceful ways to solve problems."
According to Brazilian media, the relocation of the embassy could provoke commercial reprisals from Arab countries, important markets for Brazilian meat.
Questioned on the subject in an interview published Thursday by the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom, Bolsonaro replied: "When they asked me, during the campaign, if I would do it when I was president, I would answer 'Yes, it is you who decides what the capital is of Israel, not the other nations. '"
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu considered the decision "historic". "I congratulate my friend the elected president of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro for his intention to move the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem, a historic, just and exciting step," he said in a statement.
Netanyahu "most likely" attends the Bolsonaro inauguration ceremony in Brasilia, an Israeli government source told AFP.
The Hebrew State considers the entire city of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians aspire for East Jerusalem to become the capital of their future State.
For the international community, the status of the Holy City has to be negotiated between the two parties, and the embassies do not have to settle there until an agreement has been reached.
- On the path of the United States -
The president of the United States, Donald Trump, broke in December 2017 with decades of diplomacy when he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Since then, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has ended all relations with the Trump administration.
After the United States, his embassy Guatemala and Paraguay moved, although the latter country returned his delegation to Tel Aviv weeks ago.
Israel occupies since 1967 militarily the West Bank, Palestinian territory, like East Jerusalem, the Palestinian part of the Holy City, which was annexed. This annexation has never been recognized by the international community.
Brazil recognized Palestine as a state in 2010, under the presidency of the leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. But already in 1975, during the military dictatorship, he recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as a national liberation movement, recalls the portal of the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1993, it authorized the opening of a Palestinian Special Delegation in Brasilia and in 1998 it equated its status with that of an embassy.
In Brazil there are important Jewish and Arab communities.