Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for March 3, 2023

Newsline: EU envoy demands Israeli accountability

The European Union’s ambassador to the Palestinians called on Friday for accountability and for perpetrators to be brought to justice after a rampage by Israeli settlers this week in the occupied West Bank in which one Palestinian was killed and dozens of houses, shops and cars were torched. Ambassador Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff, heading one of the biggest EU delegations to visit the West Bank, said the officials wanted to see with their own eyes the damage left by Sunday’s violence in and around the Palestinian village of Huwara. The rampage followed a Palestinian gun attack that killed two Israeli brothers. “It is absolutely necessary for us that accountability is fully ensured, that the perpetrators be brought to justice, that those who lost property be compensated,” Kuhn von Burgsdorff said. (https://neuters.de/world/middle-east/israeli-forces-kill-palestinian-teen-surging-west-bank-violence-2023-03-02/) Local media reported that, in a rare move, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Thursday signed administrative detention orders for two suspects over the rampage, after a Jerusalem court ordered police to release all seven people who had been detained in connection with the rampage.

Newsline: Hungary to move embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

Hungary is to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem next month in an act of support by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to his counterpart Benjamin Netahyahu, the Times of Israel reported on Friday. The move, if confirmed, would make Hungary the first member state of the European Union to open an embassy in Jerusalem, which Israel claims as its capital but which is not recognized as this by most countries and whose status under international law is disputed. Hungarian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mate Paczolay did not confirm the report, but said the ministry would provide updates on any changes to the embassy in all cases. “We have already moved the commercial department of our Israeli Embassy to Jerusalem years ago,” he said in response to a question on the report from Reuters. “The inauguration of the foreign trade representation was jointly announced by Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.” (https://neuters.de/world/europe/hungary-move-israel-embassy-jerusalem-israeli-media-report-2023-03-03/) An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman declined to comment. Under former President Donald Trump, the United States moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem in 2018 but only a handful of other countries have done the same.

Newsline: US eyes increased diplomatic engagement with China

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken did not meet China’s foreign minister on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in India as the two sides had already had extended talks in Munich last month, the U.S. State Department spokesperson said on Thursday. Speaking at a regular briefing, Ned Price said he expected there would be “additional calls and engagements” with China in the coming weeks. “But we had just taken advantage of one opportunity a couple weeks ago,” he said, when asked why there was no meeting at the gathering of G20 foreign ministers in New Delhi. (https://neuters.de/world/us/us-expects-calls-engagements-with-china-coming-weeks-2023-03-02/) Last month, President Joe Biden said he expected to speak with China’s President Xi Jinping about an incident in which the United States shot down what it said was a Chinese spy balloon, worsening already strained relations. No time has been given for the conversation. Blinken met top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 19 and warned of consequences should China provide material support to Russia. U.S. officials believe China will be preoccupied in coming weeks after its parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC), begins its annual session on Sunday. The session is expected to unveil the biggest government reshuffle in a decade as Beijing confronts a host of issues at home and abroad.