Tuesday, 16 October 2018

HN: Czechs should say no to Israel, Trump

11 December 2017

Prague, Dec 8 (CTK) - Czechs should tell Israelis and U.S. President Donald Trump they should not take these steps as the Czech Middle East policy insists on two, Israeli and Palestinian, states, which must be achieved by an agreement, Teodor Marjanovic writes in the financial paper Hospodarske noviny (HN) on Friday.

Trump decided to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

When a group of Europeans meets to speak about Israel, one voice, the Czech one, sounds usually quite different, Marjanovic writes.

Unlike the rest, Czechs speak about Israel with bigger sympathies than it is usual in Europe, although the history of the Czech Lands is also accompanied by anti-Semitism, he adds, citing a 14th-century pogrom or an anti-Jewish inscription on a Jesus Christ statue on Charles Bridge installed in the 17th century.

However, the first Czechoslovak President, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, is credited with generally changing the tack, bravely defying the majority in society.

In postwar Czechoslovakia, after the Holocaust, the view prevailed that the much desired Zionist objective, the establishment of the state of Israel, had to be supported, also by arms, Marjanovic writes.

The second Czechoslovak President, Edvard Benes, said as early as 1946, two years before the Israeli independence was declared: "I consider the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine the only possible and fair solution to the Jewish question," he adds.

Interestingly, after the 1948 Communist coup, Czechoslovak Communists continued with the support for Israel, though for only a few years only.

Post-communist Czechoslovakia followed up all of this and it became one of the few, if not the only European country which never joined the global trend of reprimanding Israel for its errors and playing down Palestinian terrorist attacks, Marjanovic writes.

At the close of 2012, foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg was the only one of the EU not to have voted for the recognition of Palestine as a non-member U.N. state with observer status.

The relationship between the Czech Republic and Israel is symbolised by joint meetings of their governments. They were held during the tenure of Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka twice.

This was only underlined by President Milos Zeman's strong rhetoric that Czechs had to move their embassy to Jerusalem, though it was discredited by Zeman's blatant inability to rightly explain the idea, Marjanovic writes.

If a friendship is solid and long, should it include frankness? he asks.

The Czech Republic insists on what Israelis themselves want. This means that two, an Israeli and a Palestinian, states, are the key to the peace in the Holy Land and that this has to be achieved by an agreement, Marjanovic writes.

However, in such a case, Jerusalem cannot be denoted as a single, eternal, indivisible capital of the Jewish state, even if one wished this 100 times to Jews, he adds.

In this way, Czechs are telling Palestinians arrogantly that they should forget about their claim to their own capital there, Marjanovic writes.

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