Senior Brazilian Official: Government has “Clear Intention” To Move Embassy to Jerusalem

The national security adviser to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday that Brazil had the “clear intention” to move the country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, although no official date has been set for the relocation, The Times of Israel reported.

The president’s senior adviser Augusto Heleno charged that logistical considerations were standing in the way but confirmed that “the president is considering it.” According to Heleno, such a move would be natural, as “whoever said that the capital was Jerusalem were the Israelis themselves. We are just fulfilling their determination.”

He also noted it was “natural” for Israel and Brazil to collaborate on security and said the Jewish State had impressive capabilities it could share with Brazil.

The retired army general added that he did not believe that relocating the embassy would harm Brazil’s lucrative trade with Arab nations. Nearly 20 percent of Brazil’s $5 billion beef exports go to 17 Arab countries, while Brazil-Israel trade currently amounts to $1.2 billion.

“If it happens, it will happen with caution and while showing the Arab community that it is no provocation,” Heleno clarified. “Extremist Arab countries will object if we move the embassy to Jerusalem, others will not,” he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Brazil for Bolsonaro’s inauguration on January 1, and after the pair met the Israeli leader said that the president had told him that moving the embassy was a matter of “when not if.” Bolsonaro accepted Netanyahu’s invitation to visit Israel in March 2019.

The Brazilian president on Thursday reiterated his intent to relocate the embassy. “Israel is a sovereign state and we must respect it,” Bolsonaro said. “Only Israelis have the right to decide what the capital of Israel will be.”

Honduras, the second-biggest country in Central America, reportedly also expressed interest in moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in exchange for an Israeli embassy in its capital and assistance in cyber security, water, agriculture tech, and law enforcement.

Netanyahu met with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez and United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Brasilia on Tuesday. After the meeting, Israel and Honduras announced plans to push forward with the embassy relocation.

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