Paraguay moves its Israel embassy out of Jerusalem after four months

Paraguay moves its Israel embassy out of Jerusalem after four months
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Paraguay has reversed on its decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, announcing on Wednesday it will immediately move the mission back to Tel Aviv.

The decision comes less than four months after Paraguay opened its new embassy in Jerusalem. It was one of just three nations, including the U.S. and Guatemala, to do so.

Paraguay Foreign Minister Luis Alberto Castiglioni said at a press conference that the move to Jerusalem was “unilateral, visceral and without justification,” according to the Associated Press.

He also said he hopes Israel “will not be bothered” by the decision, and that the “friends and historic allies” will remain so.

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But Israel announced in response that it will immediately close its embassy in Paraguay. “Israel views very seriously Paraguay’s exceptional decision which will strain the relations between the countries,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

The reversal comes weeks after the country’s new president, Mario Abdo Benitez, took office. Benitez had opposed relocating the embassy to Jerusalem before taking office.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry praised the reversal and Paraguay’s “commitment to international law.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE broke with international precedent when he announced that the U.S. would officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move its embassy there.

The move, quickly followed by Guatemala and Paraguay, was celebrated by Israel, but further inflamed tensions with the Palestinians, who view east Jerusalem as the capital for a future state. US policy has long said that the status of Jerusalem should be resolved in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.