Czechs open ‘honorary’ consulate in Jerusalem, but split on embassy move

The Central European nation reopened its honorary consulate in Israel’s capital on Tuesday, but the opening of an official embassy is still unclear.

By: World Israel News Staff

The Czech Republic on Tuesday reopened its honorary consulate in Jerusalem, however Czech leaders are split on whether or not to open a full-fledged embassy in Israel’s capital.

The CTK news agency reported that the honorary embassy, which is less than a full diplomatic mission, was to open Tuesday after President Milos Zeman voiced his wish to move the Czech embassy to the city from Tel Aviv.

However, acting Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said in April that his country is unlikely to follow the US and move its embassy to Jerusalem, but is still interested in boosting its presence in the city.

Babis also said that the government was considering opening a Czech center in the city during a planned visit to Israel by its president, Milos Zeman, at the end of 2018.

According to the Radio Prague report, Babis does not want to break with the EU position, which holds that the issue of Jerusalem needs to first be resolved in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Dan Propper, an Israeli businessman with a Czech background, will serve as honorary consul, a post that has remained vacant since Propper’s predecessor passed away in 2016.

The move follows the Czech Republic’s statement in December recognizing Jerusalem, defined along pre-1967 borders, as Israel’s capital.

The Czech announcement arrived just hours after US President Donald Trump declared that the US was recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would transfer its embassy there.

In April, Czech President Miloš Zeman announced, “There will be, I hope three phrases of removal of the Czech embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”

While Zeman first suggested relocating the Czech embassy during the Obama administration, the move will need to be approved by the Czech government and cannot be accomplished via executive fiat.

In response to the Czech Republic’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and its president’s intention to relocate the embassy there, the Palestinian Authority recalled its envoy to the nation, a maneuver that was repeated in Romania, Hungary and Austria. Diplomats from all of these nations attended an Israeli reception celebrating the US’ embassy move in May.