During his two-day visit, Portuguese Foreign Minister Santos Silva told The Jerusalem Post that Portugal would relocate its embassy to Jerusalem only when the city is the capital of both ‘Israel’ and Palestine.
Silva also said that Portugal has no plans to follow the United States on this issue.
“Portugal would contemplate such a move only on the day when I can put the two embassies in Jerusalem, the embassy of Portugal in Israel and the embassy of Portugal in Palestine,”he said.
Asking if he considers the location where he sat, the western part of Jerusalem, was part of Israel, he said, “I think it is a matter of fact.”
When he asked whether he considered Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital, he said, “You know the Portuguese Embassy is in Tel Aviv.”
Regarding normalization deals with Israel and annexation plans, Silva said, “It was important that the normalization process meant suspension of the annexation plans.”
“It allowed us to see future conversation and cooperation with Israel in a much more positive way,” Silva added.
He warned from Israel’s backtrack on that pledge, saying the potential of improved Israel-EU ties would be harmed.
“It would be a huge problem for us. It would be an obstacle for deepening the cooperation between the two entities,” he said.
He added, “Normalization was the opposite of annexation.”
Regarding illegal Israeli settlements, Silva stressed that Portugal and the EU oppose all settlement activity and the Israeli practice of demolishing illegal Palestinian structures.
“We have to pursue our Israeli friends not to pursue the demolitions,” Silva said, adding that he was particularly concerned by Israel’s demolition of EU-funded structures for Palestinians.
Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi welcomed Silva, saying that Portugal will soon take on the important role of President of the EU.
“As I have said, there is a real need to adopt a new and different approach to the EU-Israel partnership. I am confident that Portugal, in its new role, will be able to assist and push towards that,” he wrote on Twitter.
Portugal will soon take on the important role of President of the EU. As I have said, there is a real need to adopt a new and different approach to the EU-Israel partnership.
I am confident that Portugal, in its new role, will be able to assist and push towards that.
— גבי אשכנזי – Gabi Ashkenazi (@Gabi_Ashkenazi) December 21, 2020