JERUSALEM (Jul. 29)
Israel expressed regret today over the decision of the government of Venezuela to move its Embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. Venezuela decided to take this step because of “unilateral measures” in Jerusalem, a reference to the “Jerusalem Bill” under consideration in the Knesset and Premier Menachem Begin’s announced intention to move his office to East Jerusalem.
A statement issued by the Foreign Ministry today said the decision was especially painful since it was taken by a country with which Israel has had friendly relations for many years. “The decision can only serve the trends of the rejectionist countries and those who wish to make the peace process fail,” the Foreign Ministry said. A message to that effect was banded to the Venezuelan Ambassador in Jerusalem, Luis La Corte.
The Foreign Ministry communique said that Jerusalem will continue to be Israel’s one and eternal capital and that its gates will be open in the future to all peoples and religions. In Tel Aviv, meanwhile, U.S. diplomatic sources spoke disapprovingly of Venezuela’s decision to move its Embassy.