The Democratic Republic of Congo will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday.
Netanyahu, who met Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi during the United Nations General Assembly, announced in a statement that Israel would also be opening an embassy in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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Only a handful of countries have their embassies in Jerusalem, with most others maintaining their diplomatic representation in the coastal city of Tel Aviv, Israel’s main economic hub. Some of those still in Jerusalem include the United States, Guatemala and Honduras.
Earlier this month, the Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea opened its embassy in West Jerusalem.
Israel considers Jerusalem its eternal and indivisible capital and wants all embassies based there. But Palestinians also want the capital of their independent state to be in the city’s eastern sector, which Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War.
Most of the world does not recognise Israeli sovereignty over the entire city, believing its status should be resolved in negotiations.
But in May 2018, the US officially relocated its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem after then-President Donald Trump declared Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a move long sought by Israel, a key US ally.
It was a move widely criticised across the Middle East and seen as an act of provocation against Palestine.
The opening ceremony took place amid road closures and heavy police presence in anticipation of Palestinian protests, as well as deadly demonstrations in Gaza calling for the refugees’ right to return to the homes they were forcibly expelled from 70 years ago.