Only hours after U.S. President Donald Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel early Wednesday afternoon, the Czech Republic, a European Union member state, unexpectedly followed suit.
“The Czech Republic together with other EU member states, following the EU Foreign Affaires Council Conclusions, considers Jerusalem to be future capital of both states, meaning the State of Israel and the future State of Palestine,” the nation’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in a statement.
However, the ministry made it clear it only recognizes the western half of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, stating that it specifically “recognizes Jerusalem to be in fact the capital of Israel in the borders of the demarcation line from 1967.”
According to The Hill, before “Israel seized control of the eastern half in the Six-Day War of 1967,” it only had possession of half of Jerusalem — and it’s this portion of the city which the Czech Republic now recognizes as Israel’s capital.
The ministry further cautioned that it cannot relocate its own embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem like Trump has pledged to do with the U.S embassy, unless “negotiations with key partners in the region and in the world” first occur.
Despite the ministry’s stipulations, and despite its claim to have come “together with other EU member states” in reaching its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the statement was nevertheless a major bombshell.
As noted by The Jerusalem Post, by recognizing Jerusalem, the Czech Republic broke with the litany of “EU member states who hold Jerusalem should not (be) recognized as Israel’s capital until a final status agreement is reached.”
The Czech Republic probably likewise just earned itself the ire of Muslims across the Middle East, who responded to Trump’s own declarations Wednesday afternoon with great anger.
The U.K. Daily Telegraph reported Thursday morning that a number of clashes had broken out in the Gaza Strip as the terrorist group Hamas “called for new intifada against Israel in response to Donald Trump’s decision to recognise the Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.”
“This Zionist policy supported by the US cannot be confronted unless we ignite a new intifada,” said the terror group’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh, according to the Telegraph. “The U.S. decision is an aggression, a declaration of war on us, on the best Muslim and Christian shrines in the heart of Palestine, Jerusalem.”
Whether Haniyeh views the Czech Republic’s declaration in a similar light remains unclear.
“The American decision is a call for war against the Palestinian people, against all people” – Hamas leader Ismail Haniya responding to Trump’s Jerusalem move pic.twitter.com/vCLL83YK8N
— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) December 7, 2017
According to the Israeli news outlet Haaretz, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has also expressed interest in relocating his country’s embassy to Jerusalem.