Chad to open embassy in Israel on Thursday: Israeli PM Netanyahu

Israel and Chad resumed ties in 2018 following a visit to Jerusalem by then-President Idriss Deby to PM Netanyahu.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, goes to shake hands with President of Chad Idriss Deby in November 2018
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, goes to shake hands with former President of Chad Idriss Deby, during a joint news conference on November 25, 2018 [File: Ronen Zvulun/Pool Photo via AP]

Chad will inaugurate on Thursday an embassy in Israel, building on bilateral relations that were established five years ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said.

The announcement on Wednesday came as Chadian President Mahamat Deby’s office said he was on a 48-hour state visit to Israel, without providing further details.

Netanyahu’s office said the Chadian leader would officiate at the embassy inauguration.

Chad had severed its ties with Israel in 1972 after the Organization of African Unity, the predecessor of the current African Union, issued a decision to its member states to cut diplomatic ties with Israel in solidarity with the Palestinians.

But in November 2018, former Chadian President Idriss Deby, the late father of the current leader, paid a historic visit to Israel during which he spoke of the two countries committing to a new era of cooperation.

Netanyahu then visited Chad in January 2019, while the following year Israel signed normalisation agreements with Morocco, Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates as part of a broader diplomatic push by the United States under President Donald Trump.

The agreements enraged Palestinians who condemned them as a “stab in the back” amid fears that they will weaken a long-standing pan-Arab position calling for Israeli withdrawal from territories it occupies illegally and acceptance of Palestinian statehood in return for normal ties with Arab countries.

It was not immediately clear where the Chadian embassy would be located. Most countries keep embassies in Tel Aviv.

Trump in 2017 provoked controversy by announcing he would relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and officially did so a year later. The move infuriated Palestinians and spurred international condemnation.

Previous US presidents and the leaders of nearly every other country have refrained from opening embassies in Jerusalem until the city’s final status is resolved through Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Palestinian leaders see occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Netanyahu, who returned to office last month, has cast the upgrade of relations with Chad as part of his outreach to Arab and Muslim countries, which he wants to expand.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies