Czech President Milos Zeman has asked his Israeli counterpart Reuven Rivlin to see plans for a one-state solution after admitting that he no longer believes in a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Zeman, who arrived in Israel yesterday for an official state visit to open “Czech House” cultural centre in Jerusalem, told Rivlin he was looking forward to ideas for a “one-state with two nations” while asserting that he did not envision the Gaza Strip as part of an independent Palestinian state, Israel’s i24 news reported.
“I do not see how an independent state can be created in Gaza because Hamas promotes a state of terror,” Zeman said. Rivlin feted the pro-Israeli far-right president describing him as as “one of Jerusalem’s closest friends” and thanked him for his pledge to relocate the Czech embassy to the city.
“Your support for Jerusalem is a special gift for us on our 70th anniversary. We are so thankful for your support for relocating the Embassy of the Czech Republic to Jerusalem. Your recent statements are a clear sign of your support for this, and we hope that it will become reality in the near future,” Rivlin said.
Zeman’s right wing and hard-line anti-Muslim, anti-immigration and anti-EU policy won him the presidency at the beginning of the year. He has been known to stoke controversy and community tension through his conspiracy fuelled message. He subscribes to the widely held conspiracy theory held by the far-right and many pro-Israeli groups which claims that the streams of refugees from Syria and Iraq constitute a conspiracy of the Muslim Brotherhood and the “Islamisation of Europe”.
Zeman is in Israel to inaugurate the new “Czech House” cultural centre in Jerusalem tomorrow alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, marking what is said to be the first step in the process of eventually relocating the country’s embassy to the city.
According to i24 news the new “Czech House” will shelter government institutions including the foreign ministry’s Czech Centre, the CzechTrade agency and CzechTourism agency.
The decision to move the embassy is extremely controversial. Under International law, Israel’s presence in East Jerusalem is a military occupation and its ongoing annexation of the city is a violation of international humanitarian law. The overwhelming majority of countries view the eastern part of the city as the capital of a future independent Palestinian state.
Israel captured East Jerusalem during the 1967 war and later annexed it in a move not recognised by the international community. It declared the territory part of its unified capital, a move that had not been endorsed by any leader until US President Donald Trump moved the American embassy to the city in May.
A number of right-wing leaders have endorsed the move and promised to follow suit including Brazil’s far right president-elect Jair Bolsonaro.