Kosovo has become the first Muslim country to open an embassy in the occupied holy city of Jerusalem al-Quds, and the third state to ever make such a controversial decision.
The move came on Sunday in clear support for the Israeli regime’s claim to the city as its “capital.”
The US was the first country when former president Donald Trump defied all the previous American administrations to endorse the Israeli claim on December 6, 2017.
Washington then took another unprecedented move by relocating its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds. Before Kosovo, only Guatemala had followed the US lead and countries worldwide have declined to move their embassies to the city.
The EU has warned its members against providing diplomatic favors for the Israeli regime, saying they would be going against the bloc’s official position regarding the city.
Jerusalem al-Quds remains at the heart of the decades-long Mideast conflict, with Palestinians insisting that East al-Quds – illegally occupied by Israel since 1967 – should serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.
In 2017, two-thirds of UN member states rejected Trump’s decision to have the US recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s "capital". In all, 128 nations voted to maintain the international consensus that the status of Jerusalem al-Quds can only be decided through peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
Kosovo, which is a legacy of the Balkan wars resulting from the violent breakup of the former Yugoslavia, established diplomatic relations with Israel in February.
“The pledge given in the Oval Office today is finally fulfilled,” Kosovo’s Foreign Ministry tweeted Sunday.
It was referring to the country’s promise to the US last year to relocate its embassy to the occupied city.
Wasel Abu Youssef, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization umbrella group, said Kosovo’s move contradicts UN resolutions on the status of the occupied territories and aims to “weaken the Palestinian cause.”
Senior Iraqi Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani expressed his opposition to any normalization with the Israeli regime during a a landmark interfaith meeting with the head of the Roman Catholic Church Pope Francis in Najaf early this month.
The US has also brokered agreements on the normalization of relations in recent months between Israel and four Arab countries - the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.
Palestinians have lambasted the agreements as a stab in their back and a betrayal of their cause to put an end to the Israeli occupation of their territories.
Such concessions have emboldened Israel to steadily work toward further entrenchment in the occupied territories by setting up new settlements on Palestinian lands.
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