Defying EU Policy, Romania Advances Proposal to Move Embassy to Jerusalem

Proposal comes after visit to Bucharest by Israel's deputy foreign minister, who told Romanian counterpart U.S. embassy move will form 'historic window of opportunity'

Deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely with Romania's foreign minister Teodor Meleșcanu in Bucharest, April 2018
Cristian Nistor

Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dncil submitted a draft resolution to the cabinet Thursday that would move the Romanian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The proposal now depends on the approval of ministers.

Meanwhile, the speaker of the Romanian parliament stated in an interview to the Romanian media that the country intends to move its embassy. The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem is awaiting official updates from Bucharest.

The country's president, Klaus Iohannis, said he is opposed to the government's plan to move the embassy, however. Iohannis said the prime minister had not consulted him and that such a move could only occur at the end of a regional peace process. 

The proposal to relocate the embassy was made following a visit to Bucharest by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) last week, where she met with Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu. Hotovely told him that "there will be a historic window of opportunity following the relocation of the American embassy to Jerusalem. It is time to choose to stand on the right side of history and be one of the pioneering countries to transfer their embassy to our capital, Jerusalem." The Romanian foreign minister replied that he would examine the matter.

Hotovely is slated to visit the Czech Republic soon, which is expected to be the next state to declare a similar intention. Romania and the Czech Republic belong to the European Union, whose official policy opposes unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and supports the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of two states, Israel and Palestine, along the 1967 borders.

Earlier Thursday, Netanyahu said at a reception for foreign diplomats on Israel's Independence Day that Israel would help the first 10 countries to transfer their embassies to the city: "There are two things you can to help Israel celebrate this wonderful Independence Day. The first thing is to speak out against Iran... the second thing you can do to promote peace is to move your embassy here... I'm happy to say that there are at least half a dozen countries that are seriously talking to us about transferring their embassies to Jerusalem. So please, there's a simple principle, you're familiar with it – the first one there wins. I decided that the 10 first embassies to come here will get preferential treatment. We'll help you! You should all do it."