Your instinct may be to dismiss the significance of a small country like Paraguay, with a population of around seven million, moving their embassy to Jerusalem, but that is a bad instinct. The South American country just announced their decision, and it does matter.
First, here is the tweet from Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the decision by the nation.
A great day for Israel, a great day for Paraguay & a great day for our friendship. Today we opened the Paraguayan embassy in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital. Thank you to my friend, President Horacio Cartes, for your great friendship that comes from the depth of your heart. 🇮🇱🇵🇾 pic.twitter.com/iByBuyI2Ub
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) May 21, 2018
The entrance to Jerusalem was lined with the flags of Paraguay on Wednesday and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the ceremony that he was there to “salute” a great friend.
In the matter of recognition and support of the nation of Israel and their capital, it is no small thing. Paraguay follows in the footsteps of not only the United States but also Guatemala. Romania, the Czech Republic, and Honduras are all on the brink of moving their embassies as well.
Mass will create momentum. The United States has not merely set an example or even simply set the ball rolling; our move is an impetus, both to those who would gain our favor and those partners and supporters of Israel that needed a big shield.
Cartes, who will leave office in mid-August when a new government takes over, announced late last month during an event in the capital Asuncion marking Israel’s 70th Independence Day that he planned to move the embassy before the end of his term. It is not known if Cartes consulted with President-elect Mario Abdo Benítez before announcing the move.
“This occasion is of special significance because it expresses the sincere friendship and brave solidarity between Paraguay and Israel,” Cartes said at the dedication.
“From the depth of my heart, I appreciate this country that courageously defends its right to live in peace and it is building a praiseworthy economically prosperous state that ensures its future and that of its children,” he added.
And of course, the objection.
Hanan Ashrawi, an official of the Palestine Liberation Organization, denounced Paraguay’s move.
“By adopting such a provocative and irresponsible measure that is in direct contravention of international law and consensus, Paraguay has conspired with Israel, the United States and Guatemala to entrench the military occupation and to seal the fate of occupied Jerusalem,” Ashrawi said in a statement.
It’s an objection that once again serves only to emphasize how correct the nations are in undertaking this move.