Last week's decision by Serbia and Kosovo to open embassies in Jerusalem has been met with criticism from a surprising source.
Two former envoys of the Zionist state have expressed deep scepticism over the move by the rival Balkan states. With Serbia, along with dozens of other countries not recognising Kosovo, the former diplomats have suggested that this decision could in fact backfire.
"We're not connected to the Balkan conflict, and we're not supposed to be [in the pact]," Israel's former ambassador to Serbia, Arthur Koll, is reported saying in the Jerusalem Post while railing against the embassy move. "The question that should be raised is why Israel was thrown in there," he said.
Explaining that the plan could backfire, Koll said that for years Israel had avoided making such a move. The suggestion was that with Israel recognising Kosovo as a quid pro quo for its embassy move to Jerusalem, the Zionist state's desperate campaign to prevent global recognition of Palestinian statehood had been undermined.
"I'm not sure it's in Israel's interest to get mixed up in this deal," Koll stated. "We're paying a price by surrendering a principal of ours, a long-standing policy. It's a step that might have future repercussions for the Israel-Palestinian conflict."
Koll seems to think that this issue was a result of "US pressure on Israel", implying that with the upcoming election US President Donald Trump sought to use this as a sign of victory on the global stage.
"We've seen President Trump trying to show some victories in the international arena in recent weeks. This is one big mix, a package deal that was sewn to serve Trump's campaign," he said. "After the past three election cycles in Israel, in which Trump diplomatically assisted [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu repeatedly [by recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights and unveiling a Middle East peace plan], Netanyahu now just had to return the favor," he explained.
Throwing doubt over the embassy move actually taking place, Koll said: "We must remember – Serbia didn't recognize Kosovo's independence in this deal, so now it's going to make such a gesture [to] Israel after Israel recognized Kosovo? I'm a bit [of a] skeptic." With Serbia's transfer of its embassy to Jerusalem being conditioned on Israel respecting Belgrade's interests, Koll said that he saw no reason to believe how its rival, Kosovo, gaining recognition with the Zionist state was in any way in Serbia's interest.
Oded Eran, Israel's former ambassador to the European Union also blasted the decision. "Serbia is currently in negotiations to enter the European Union…. The EU's stance on the Palestinian question is very clear – all of its countries oppose recognizing Jerusalem as the capital [of Israel] right now," Eran is reported saying in the Post.
"What will the Europeans say to Serbia if it moves its embassy to Jerusalem? Will that move hurt its chances of being allowed into the EU? Does that mean Serbia won't do it?" Eran explained.
Turkey on Sunday urged Kosovo against opening an embassy in Jerusalem, saying doing so would undermine UN resolutions and hurt the Palestinian cause.