Paraguay’s Decision to Return Embassy to Tel Aviv Sparks diplomatic Row with Israel
The decision of Paraguay to reverse its decision and remove its embassy from Jerusalem back to Tel-Aviv has sparked a diplomatic row with Israel.
Paraguay’s reversal was announced by its foreign minister, Luis Alberto Castiglioni who said;
“Paraguay wants to contribute to an intensification of regional diplomatic efforts to achieve a broad, fair and lasting peace in the Middle East.”
Responding to the announcement however, Israel immediately announced the closure of its embassy in Paraguay adding that it will recall its ambassador back to Israel according to local media reports.
The Palestinians have regarded the reversal as a diplomatic victory for them saying Palestine will open an embassy in Paraguay according to Foreign Affairs Minister Riyad al-Maliki as he hailed “Paraguay’s change of mind as a new Palestinian diplomatic achievement.”
Paraguay has traditionally been neutral in the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians but Paraguay’s former president, Horacio Cartes had traveled to Jerusalem to inaugurate a new embassy in May, following in the footsteps of United States President Donald Trump who also moved the US embassy to Jerusalem, effectively recognising the city as the capital of Israel to the anger of Palestinians and the rest of the Arab World.
Cartes successor Mario Abdo Benitez, also a member of the conservative Colorado party, however came into office in August reversed the decision.
Asides from Paraguay and the United States, Guatemala has also moved its embassy to Jerusalem in what was hailed as a political victory by the state of Israel.
The relocations however sparked off massive Palestinian protests in Gaza and the West and drew international condemnation.
Both Palestinians and Israelis regard the city of Jerusalem as their capital with Palestinian leaders seeing East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
Jerusalem is and remains a sore spot in relations between Palestinians and Israelis as both groups lay historical claim to the ancient city which is sacred to the three Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Islam and Christianity.