Czech President to Netanyahu: We'll Discuss Jerusalem Embassy Move Next Year

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Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu dine with Milos and Ivana Zeman at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem.
Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu dine with Milos and Ivana Zeman at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem.Credit: Haim Tzach / GPO

Czech President Milos Zeman told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday that the transfer of the Czech embassy to Jerusalem will be discussed in a meeting between the two governments in Prague at the beginning of next year.

In a video clip posted on the prime minister’s official Facebook page, Zeman can be seen speaking about the embassy move, but part of his words were cut off in the clip.

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Netanyahu and his wife, Sara Netanyahu, hosted Zeman and his wife, Ivana Zeman, for lunch at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem on Tuesday, before dedicating the Czech House cultural center in the capital.

Netanyahu said the opening of the Czech House was just the first stage ahead of moving the embassy to Jerusalem. Nonetheless, the Czech government does not officially support the transfer because of the European Union’s policy against such a unilateral move outside the peace process with the Palestinians.

“We say 'Next year in Jerusalem'. So, next year we hope to see an embassy in Jerusalem, but next year in Prague, we have a [government to government] meeting,” Netanyahu told Zeman, who responded that if possible, the relocation of the embassy would be discussed then, in the first quarter of 2019 between the governments.

On Monday, Zeman met with President Reuven Rivlin, saying that he looks forward to hearing from Rivlin about his ideas for a "one-state with two nations," adding that he cannot envision an independent state in Gaza.

"I was inspired by your idea about one state with two nations, Mr. President, and I know this idea is provocative - any big and deep idea is provocative," Zeman told Rivlin.

"So, I wonder what will be your argument for this idea. Because for many, many decades there is a discussion about two independent states but frankly speaking I do not see independent state in Gaza because I understand Hamas as a terrorist organization and not as a state," Zeman added.

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