U.S. Vice President Mike Pence listens as U.S. President Donald Trump announces that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will move its embassy there, during an address from the White House in Washington, U.S., December 6, 2017.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence listens as U.S. President Donald Trump announces that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will move its embassy there, during an address from the White House in Washington, U.S., December 6, 2017.
Photo Credit: Kevin Lamarque

Canada will not move its embassy to Jerusalem, says Chrystia Freeland

Ottawa has no intention of following Washington’s example in officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the Canadian embassy there from Tel Aviv, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Wednesday.

The Canadian reaction came following President Donald Trump’s decision Wednesday to reverse decades of U.S. policy and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, despite warnings from around the world that the gesture further drives a wedge between Israel and the Palestinians.

‘‘Canada is a steadfast ally and friend of Israel and friend to the Palestinian people,” Freeland said in a statement.

“Canada’s longstanding position is that the status of Jerusalem can be resolved only as part of a general settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute.”

Canada is committed the goal of a “comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, including the creation of a Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel,” Freeland said as she called for calm.

A general view of Jerusalem shows the Dome of the Rock, located in Jerusalem’s Old City on the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount December 6, 2017.
A general view of Jerusalem shows the Dome of the Rock, located in Jerusalem’s Old City on the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount December 6, 2017. © Ronen Zvulun

The status of Jerusalem — home to sites holy to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions — has been one of the thorniest issues in long-running Mideast peace efforts.

Israel considers the city its eternal and indivisible capital and wants all embassies based there.

Palestinians want the capital of an independent Palestinian state to be in the city’s eastern sector, which Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War. Israel’s subsequent annexation of eastern Jerusalem has never been recognized internationally.

This has been the policy of consecutive Canadian governments, both Liberal and Conservative, said in a statement Adam Austen, Freeland’s press secretary.

However, some Jewish-Canadian organizations urged the Liberal government to reconsider.

“Since the re-establishment of the modern State of Israel, Jerusalem has been the home to Israel’s democratically elected parliament, independent supreme court and national government offices,” the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs said in a statement.

“We have always maintained that Canada should formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

In a speech at the White House, Trump said his administration would also begin a process of moving the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which is expected to take years.

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In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his nation was “profoundly grateful” and Trump’s announcement was an “important step toward peace.”

However, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday that the U.S. shift “is a declaration of withdrawal from the role it has played in the peace process.”

With files from Reutes and The Associated Press

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Posted in International, Politics

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4 comments on “Canada will not move its embassy to Jerusalem, says Chrystia Freeland
  1. George witicar says:

    America has never been an honest reliable broker in peace process between palistinian and israrli. They were always biased toward Israeli. .This is why we have BALFOUR DECLERATION and 15 million palistinian Refugees world wide

  2. Rene Albert says:

    Bet you will if the USA tells you so…

  3. Jerry says:

    As a Canadian Jew, I agree with the position of the Canadian government. The security of Israel is in no way improved by the future move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. On the contrary, this unnecessary action will, in my view, will certainly decrease Israel’s security, both in the short term and going forward.

    We must see this US action for exactly what it is: a move by a right-wing US president, catering to his evangelical base and right-wing American Jews to promote Israel’s right-wing and not entirely popular Prime Minister Netanyahu.

    I recall Joe Clark’s ill-fated idea many years ago to move the embassy. It was a bad idea then, and still a bad idea.

  4. The ironically named Freeland is denying reality. Actually, the status of Jerusalem was “settled” in 1968 when, after Israel (threatened by overwhelming numerical odds in the “67 war!) utterly smashed the corrupt Arab armies and took position of the holiest sites of Jews and Christians, they offered captured territories back to both Jordan and Egypt. Both Arab/Islamic regimes refused to take the territory back because they did not want give the appearance of ending the conflict. Israel took custody of Jerusalem, The West Bank, Sini and Gaza thereby providing all people in those areas the best standard of living in the entire Middle East. Jerusalem has always been the emotional, intellectual and spiritual capitol of the Jewish world, even in diaspora. Now that Jews have possessed it, it is quite legitimately, the political capitol of our country. This has not been in question since 1968 and the fact that cowardly politicians who pander to Islamist rage will not deal with it is the real obstacle to achieving peace.