Brazil was the first country in the Western hemisphere to open a Palestinian embassy back in 2010 under the government of leftist former President Lula.
The Palestinian envoy to Brazil, Ibrahim Alzeben, said Tuesday that moving Brazil’s embassy to Jerusalem would be an “attack” on Palestinians. He also said Brazil will be breaking international law if they move the embassy, following the footsteps of the far-right U.S. administration of Donald Trump in recognition of all of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in violation of international resolutions.
"Moving the embassy of any country... is a violation of international law and an attack on the Palestinian people," Alzeben said.
He came out with the statement few days before Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro was scheduled to visit Israel from Sunday to Thursday.
Bolsonaro had previously said that he will move Brazil’s embassy to Jerusalem, a city which Palestinians wish to make the capital of their future sovereign state.
Bolsonaro, an avid fan of Brazil's former dictatorship and of U.S. President Donald Trump, has deepened ties with the United States and Israel since taking office on Jan. 1 this year.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Brazil for Bolsonaro's inauguration, where he said the far-right president told him moving the embassy was a matter of "when; not if."
Bolsonaro’s visit to Israel and his embassy move will likely be used by Netanyahu to bolster his changes in Israel’s upcoming elections on April 9.
Brazil was the first country in the Western hemisphere to open a Palestinian embassy back in 2010 under the government of leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. It was also one of the first South American countries to recognize Palestine’s statehood along the pre-1967 borders.
Before Bolsonaro, Brazil’s administrations of Lula and later of Dilma Rousseff were highly critical of Israel and its policies towards Palestine but the current Brazilian president has decided to change that beyond a simple friendship with Netanyahu.
“I want to be his brother,” he said. “I believe that other countries will respect Brazil more when it recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”