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Romania to move its embassy to Jerusalem

Romanian flag [Sorina/Flickr]

Romania will follow the US and soon move its embassy to Jerusalem, Liviu Dragnea, the president of the Chamber of Deputies and a member of Romania’s ruling party, revealed yesterday.

Dragnea announced the decision in an interview with the Romanian TV channel ANTENA 3, making Romania the fourth country to make the controversial move from Tel Aviv, alongside the US, Guatemala and Honduras.

The decision was welcomed by Israel, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promising international diplomats at the president’s residence in Jerusalem yesterday that more countries were close to making the decision. He also said that preferential treatment would be given to the first ten nations that move their embassies.

“One way to advance peace is to move your embassies here,” Netanyahu told the diplomats. “President Trump’s decision to move his embassy here says simply that peace must be based on truth. Recognising reality is the path to build peace.”

Romania’s decision comes just a week after Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely flew to Bucharest to meet with Romanian government officials, one of many foreign trips planned as part of a campaign to persuade countries to make Jerusalem their centre of operations, thereby offering a de-facto recognition of the city as the Israeli capital.

Read: New Israel ambassador returns to Jordan after deadly shooting

US President Donald Trump’s decision to relocate the American embassy from Tel Aviv was met with near unanimous condemnation from the international community, with the UN General Assembly voting to reject the decision.

However, Israel has since embarked on a public campaign to change its image on the global stage and convince other countries to back the move.

This week, Israel hosted over 40 UN ambassadors, a fifth of all the diplomatic envoys, to mark Israel’s “Independence Day”, featuring tours reinforcing the historic ties between the Jewish people and the land of Palestine.

The trip was organised in light of several recent UNESCO resolutions condemning the Israeli occupation and recognising the right of Palestinians various historical sites in the region, including the Ibrahimi Mosque. Israel is looking to change this perception and garner more favourable votes at the UN by presenting the dubious history of Jewish connection to the sites.

The diplomats also visited the Gaza border, with Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon stressing the importance of the tour given that Israel’s violent response to peaceful Palestinian protests was likely to be discussed at the UN in the near future. Some 27 Gazans have been killed and thousands injured over the past three weeks after Israeli forces fired live ammunition at demonstrators, with further demonstrations expected to take place today.

Read: UN official: Israel crackdown on Gaza protests is ‘crisis on top of a catastrophe’

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