By 2018-05-14 InPortugal

Portugal follows Europe in boycotting opening of US embassy in Jerusalem

Portugal is among the long list of countries that have declined invitations to attend the today’s ceremony inaugurating the new embassy in Jerusalem of the United States of America.

As we write this text, tensions are running extremely high with Palestinians mounting a wave of protests in Gaza designed to break into Israeli territory. This morning alone at least 16 people are reported to have died, with dozens more injured.

More than half the embassies and business attachés invited to the ceremony are understood to have declined, with politicians here pulling no punches.

The siting of the US embassy in Jerusalem (moving from Tel Aviv) will “inflame the whole region” and put “the most precious commodity in the Middle East, peace, at risk”, say government allies Bloco de Esquerda, while Minister for Foreign Affairs Augusto Santos Silva explains that what upsets Portugal most is the arbitrary way US president Donald Trump has engineered this extremely volatile situation.

President Trump made the decision to move to Jerusalem – the city claimed by Israel and Palestine alike – “without any kind of negotiations” and “without any understanding of the solution” for both countries.

Santos Silva stressed that “the Portuguese government will be extremely happy on the day it can recognise Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, transferring its diplomatic representation from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, because this will be the very day in which Portugal will be able to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine and transfer its diplomatic representation in Palestine from Ramallah to Eastern Jerusalem”.

But until there is understanding on both sides, the message is unilateral moves like the one scheduled for later today could never get Portugal’s support.

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