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Belgrade may postpone or end transfer of Serbian embassy to Jerusalem

By Paul Antonopoulos | February 5, 2021

After the Israeli recognition of the so-called independent state of Kosovo on Monday, Belgrade finds itself in a difficult position and will reconsider its decision to move the Serbian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Serbia committed itself to this step by signing the September 2020 Washington Agreement suspecting that Kosovo and Israel would recognize each other eventually. Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić now says that his country will “build relations with the Jewish state in accordance to the new circumstances,” suggesting the embassy move might not occur at all.

The Washington Agreement was always tailored to the interests of Israel and Kosovo and not Serbia, yet Vučić still signed it to the dismay of Serbs. The agreement signed by Kosovo’s so-called Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and then U.S. President Donald Trump states that Kosovo and Israel agree to mutual recognition. The agreement signed between Vučić and Trump specifies that Belgrade has an obligation to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by July 1, 2021.

As much as the move between Israel and Kosovo was expected, it was probably not anticipated that the last item from the Washington Agreement would actually become the first. This is especially painful for Serbia as Vučić agreed with Kosovo’s authorities that the two would not engage in efforts for countries to recognize or stop recognizing Kosovo. This will likely bring new consequences to Serbia’s engagement with Israel.

As Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selaković noted, it will be interesting to observe whether there will now be Muslim and Arab countries that will recognize Kosovo or stop recognizing the illegal entity after its normalization with Israel.

So what will Muslim countries do?

Last year, thanks in large to Trump’s efforts, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco normalized their relations with Israel, while Saudi Arabia and the Jewish state have been cooperating for many years behind closed doors.

Turkey, despite being the first Muslim majority country to recognize Israel, has hypocritically reacted to the signing of the agreement between Pristina and Tel Aviv. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claims that it does “not serve the Palestinian issue” and undermines the vision of a two-state solution. Erdoğan’s outrage is despite his country having multi-billion-dollar trade exchanges with Israel that was increasing year-on-year before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs also stated that by signing the agreement, Kosovo, which it also recognizes, “undertook to open its embassy in Jerusalem, which is contrary to international law.” Again, Turkey made another contradiction considering it violated United Nations Resolution 550 and 789 by partially reopening the town of Varosha in occupied northern Cyprus last year, and by violating the United Nations Charter Law of the Sea by illegally entering Greece’s maritime space for much of 2020.

The question of relocating the Serbian embassy also entails the question of the status of Jerusalem – while the Israelis consider it their capital, the Palestinians say it is an occupied city. Palestinian Ambassador to Serbia, Mohammed Nabhan, said immediately after the signing of the Washington Agreement that 57 countries from the Arab League and the Islamic Organization for Cooperation could withdraw their recognition of Kosovo due to their agreement with Israel. There have been no such announcements from these Islamic organizations or their members.

This is an empty threat by Nabhan as the position of Muslim and Arab states regarding Israel are no longer united, something the Palestinian Authority appears to be oblivious to. Islamic countries are extremely divided over the issue of Israel and Kosovo. Several Muslim states like Iran, Syria, Iraq and Morocco do not recognize the independence of the breakaway Serbian province. Self-proclaimed Kosovo has been recognized by leading Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Egypt. It is difficult to expect that there will be any changes, especially since the voice of the Palestinian Authority is no longer as important as it used to be. The Palestinian question, which was once a major global issue, is now reduced, especially in the Arab World as they are now mostly focused on containing Turkish expansionism and Iranian influence.

Immediately after the signing of the Washington Agreement, it was speculated that Serbia might not fulfill what it signed if Israel recognizes the self-proclaimed independence of Kosovo. The very act of recognition is only a consequence of what was already signed in Washington last year. The new American administration are most likely not against Trump’s September 2020 Agreement, meaning they will try and implement it, or at the minimum not stop it. Belgrade’s only trump card is that they can postpone or end the transfer of the Serbian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

February 5, 2021 - Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , ,

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