On Thursday, the Czech Republic announced that the diplomatic office, which would operate as a branch of its embassy, in Tel Aviv was opened. Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis attended the opening ceremony. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was absent due to his wife’s hospitalization. In the ceremony, Foreign Minister Ashkenazi delivered a speech stating his appreciation stemming from the opening of the office. He stated that this move is a symbol of the close relationship between the two countries’ people and governments. Besides, the Israeli Foreign Minister thanked the Czech Republic for their leading role in the change of European attitude towards Jerusalem and for the cooperation with Israel.
The Czech Foreign Ministry announced the establishment of the office in the last month of 2020. In that statement, it was highlighted that this office would contribute to efforts to improve relations between the Czech Republic and Israel. The Czech Foreign Ministry emphasized also that this move is not related to opening a new embassy. The office has replaced the Czech honorary consulate in Jerusalem.
On the other hand, the Palestinian side issued statements criticizing the move of the Czech Republic and called on them to reverse the decision. EU member states have not accepted moving their embassies to Jerusalem until Israel and Palestinian reach an agreement on the issue of the city. Among the EU members, only the Czech Republic and Hungary have diplomatic office in Jerusalem. On a global scale, countries, except the US and Guatemala, have refused to make a similar move so far.