Argentinian President Javier Milei has declared that his country’s embassy in Israel will be relocated to Jerusalem, and that he is working on designating Hamas as a terrorist organisation. In his first official visit abroad since being sworn into office in December, the president pledged solidarity with Israel in its fight to eliminate the Hamas terror group. His trip also sent a political message to Western nations that have failed to recognise Israel’s right to defend itself.
Milei, who was elected on a libertarian platform in last year’s elections, and has been likened to Donald Trump, is indeed following in the footsteps of the former U.S. President by siding unequivocally with Israel which has been fighting Hamas for four months after the terrorist group brutally killed 1,200 Israeli civilians on October 7th.
Arriving in Israel on Tuesday, February 6th, Javier Milei declared:
I am keeping my promise to have my first diplomatic visit to Israel. I’m here to convey my support of Israel against Hamas terrorists, my support for the people of Israel who have the right to self-defence. Obviously, my plan is to move the embassy to western Jerusalem.
Relocating the embassy to Jerusalem would be a recognition that the city is the capital of Israel, a similar move to that made by Donald Trump in 2018 when the U.S. embassy was relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
At the creation of the state of Israel, the city was divided between the Israelis in the west and the Kingdom of Jordan in the east. Israel gained control of the entire city during the Six-Day War in 1967, and regards the entire city as its indivisible capital. Jerusalem has been under Israeli authority ever since, but Palestinians claim the eastern part as the capital for their hoped-for future state. Currently, only the United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Papua New Guinea and Kosovo have embassies in Jerusalem. Some other countries, including Hungary and the Czech Republic, have embassy branches in the capital. All other embassies are located in Tel Aviv.
The status of Jerusalem—home to Jewish, Christian, and Muslim holy sites—remains one of the core issues in Israeli-Palestinian relations. The United Nations does not recognize the legality of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, and considers East Jerusalem as occupied Palestinian territory. Israel maintains its primary governmental institutions in the city, yet almost all the countries in the world have been unwilling to recognise it as Israel’s capital. Argentina’s decision is therefore of great symbolic significance.
Holding talks with Javier Milei on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the Argentinian president for announcing his intention to declare Hamas a terrorist organisation and for his decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Milei also met Israeli President Isaac Herzog, whom he told:
We condemn not only Hamas’ terrorist actions but also expressed our solidarity with the State of Israel and continue to support Israel’s legitimate right to self-defence.
Visiting Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem on Wednesday, Javier Milei called Hamas “the face of modern Nazism,” and urged the free world to raise its voice.