Malawi’s stance to establish an embassy in Jerusalem continues to attract broad criticism with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas the latest to question the decision.
In a letter purportedly addressed to the country’s leadership, Abbas insists that the move by Lilongwe constitutes a violation of some UN resolutions.
A statement from the Embassy of the State of Palestine in Pretoria, South Africa, confirms that President Abbas has written President Lazarus Chakwera on the status of Jerusalem under international law.
According to the statement, under international law; East Jerusalem – including the Old City and its sites – are legally not part of the State of Israel.
It highlights that since Israel’s establishment in 1948, the international community has refused to recognise the sovereignty of any country to any part of Jerusalem in the absence of a permanent Arab-Israeli agreement.
Creation of the State of Israel sparked the first Arab-Israeli war which ended in 1949 with Israel’s victory and displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.
Within the SADC region, South Africa has on several occasions raised Israel’s occupation of Palestine at the United Nations as other countries continue to be under pressure to establish formal relations with Israel.
In a recent question and answer session in parliament, Chakwera defended his decision to open diplomatic offices in Jerusalem stressing that the plan is in the best interest of all Malawians.
Once established, Malawi will be the first African state in recent decades to have its diplomatic presence in Jerusalem.
Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya are among 16 countries that previously opened embassies in Jerusalem starting in the 1950s but cut the ties in 1973 following the Yom Kippur War.
When they re-established diplomatic relations in the 1980s, the countries re-opened the embassies, this time in the Tel Aviv area.