Israel’s decision to recognize Kosovo is a „major mistake“ and it sets a „dangerous precedent.“ It is contrary to the national interests of Israel and can ruin the relations between the two countries, which have experienced a flourishing of mutual relations and have plenty in common, said Michael Freund, President of the Israel-Serbia Friendship Association. On the other hand, the Jewish people “are delighted” with Vucic’s decision to relocate the embassy to Jerusalem.
Freund said that „like many other Israelis,“ he was surprised by the September 4th decision that Israel will “reverse” its foreign policy and recognize Kosovo.
„For more than 10 years, it was a matter of principle for Israel to refuse to recognize Kosovo’s attempts to declare independence. This was a matter of principle for Israel – to not recognize the declaration of independence,“ Freund said on the talk-show „Oko“ (The Eye) on RTS last night.
„Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria are the same as Kosovo is to Serbia – the cradle of our civilization, the heart of our nation. Jerusalem has always been a key dream place for all Jewish people during the 2000 years of exile. Now that we have returned to this country and regained our sovereignty and reunited Jerusalem, the only right thing would be for the Serbian embassy to be in Jerusalem – our capital.“
According to him, this was a result of „a strong and intense US pressure.“
„For several years now, the US has been pressuring Israel to recognize Pristina. Unfortunately, it seems that politics has won over principles.“
„It would be wrong for Israel to interfere in the internal affairs of another country. Kosovo is part of the country, the declaration of independence is unconstitutional and illegal. If adopted, it would set a very dangerous precedent,“ Freund pointed out.
„The fact remains that in the past few years, we have seen that the relations between Israel and Serbia have flourished in various fields,“ Freund said. Exactly one year ago, the first Jewish center after the Holocaust was opened in Belgrade. An academic center was opened in Jerusalem, dealing with the study of Serb-Jewish relations, and there has been an increase in tourism between the two countries, Freund said, recalling tragic common historical events, such as the Jasenovac concentration camp.
He also recalled Ariel Sharon, who opposed the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999.
„We have so much in common. The Jewish people and Serbs are small nations surrounded by enemy forces. Throughout history, our homelands have been occupied for centuries, but through faith, perseverance and determination, we have overcome and surpassed those who wanted to destroy us.“
„The Jewish people and Serbs are brothers,“ Freund said in Serbian on RTS.
Israel has long believed that the principle of „maintaining sovereignty and recognizing borders“ was something that had to be strengthened – Freund added.
„Recognizing Pristina means opening a door for every ethnic minority in the world that will demand the right to self-determination. And that is a recipe for chaos – both here in the Middle East or in Europe,“ this journalist said.
„Whether it happens with the Catalans in Spain, or the Corsicans in France, or the Scots in the United Kingdom, once you open that door allowing the provinces in sovereign countries to declare independence – you open the Pandora’s box,“ Freund said.
You can watch Freund’s guest appearance in the video above, starting from the 27:13 mark. The professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Zagreb, Dejan Jovic also made a guest appearance in this talk-show.
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