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  • Leader of Italy's far-right League party Matteo Salvini gestures as he speaks during a rally ahead of regional election in Emilia-Romagna, in Maranello, Italy, January 18, 2020.

    Leader of Italy's far-right League party Matteo Salvini gestures as he speaks during a rally ahead of regional election in Emilia-Romagna, in Maranello, Italy, January 18, 2020. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 January 2020 (8 hours 42 minutes ago)

The far-right politician is notorious for making controversial comments, especially towards migrants seeking refuge in Italy.

Matteo Salvini recently conducted an interview with Israel's Ynet News to discuss Italian-Israeli relations and his bid for the premiership of the Mediterranean country.

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In his interview with Ynet, Salvini said he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, despite harming relations with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank region.

“Yes, absolutely”, Salvini said, answering the reporter’s question. Salvini's move would follow several other right-wing leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, that have recongized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. 

Salvini, a prominent Eurosceptic and the leader of Italy’s League party, said that left-wing European parties were hypocritical in their stance towards Israel and said that the activity of the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) should be banned in the European Union. The non-profit activist organisation promotes various forms of boycotts against Israel until the country meets its obligations under international law – ending what it calls the occupation of Palestinian lands and dismantling the West Bank barrier.

"I have defended my country's borders, security and dignity, and I am proud of it", says Slavini in a first exclusive interview with Israeli media outlets. "Unfortunately, when the left, in the US like Israel and Italy, loses elections, it seeks revenge in the courts. But they will not succeed”, Salvini said in an interview with the right-wing newspaper Israel Hayom.

Salvini blamed the surge of anti-Semitism in Europe on the rise of Islamic extremism and said that it was being institutionalised by left-wing parties.

His statement comes a day after Honduras' President Juan Orlando Hernandez promised to move the country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, if Israel in turn opens an embassy in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa.

The status of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel came to the forefront of international politics when U.S. President Donald Trump announced that his country's embassy was moving from Tel Aviv to the holy city.

Trump's brash move derailed Palestinian-Israeli peace talks and paved the way for his so-called "Deal of the Century", which was fully rejected by all Palestinian parties.  

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