Ruckus Over RSVPs to Embassy Opening

YERUSHALAYIM -

U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to move the American embassy to Yerushalayim continued to roil diplomatic waters on Thursday with a ruckus over whether European envoys will attend a reception on Sunday night, ahead of the opening on Monday.

Many European officials, including British, French and German diplomats will boycott the event, spurning an invitation from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that was extended to the entire foreign diplomatic corps, according to Hadashot.

“It is a little strange to invite us to celebrate an event that we opposed and condemned. The Americans were more clever and knew in advance not to invite us, to save themselves from embarrassment,” a diplomatic source was quoted as saying.

However, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said it had no knowledge of such a boycott.

“At the moment, 30 of 86 ambassadors have responded positively [to the invitation]. A large number of ambassadors have yet to respond. We hope all the ambassadors will arrive,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said.

Sunday’s reception will also mark Guatemala’s opening of its embassy in the capital next week, and will be attended by Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales. Paraguay on Wednesday confirmed it will also make the move; and President Horacio Cartes reportedly will travel to Israel later this month for the inauguration.

The Foreign Ministry ceremony will take place a day before the inauguration of the new embassy, to which some 800 guests were invited, including an American delegation of about 300, according to reports.

The Israeli leftist party Meretz, which was not invited to either event, declared its conscientious objector status on Thursday. Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg said she could not support for such a “unilateral move” that could jeopardize the peace process.

“I really want to see all the embassies in Jerusalem, and I want to see Jerusalem recognized by the world as the capital of Israel within recognized and safe borders. I want to see Jerusalem recognized by the world as the capital of Israel,” she told the IDC Herzliya Conference on Thursday.