Israel–Kosovo relations


Israel–Kosovo relations refer to bilateral relations between Israel and Kosovo[lower-alpha 1]. Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008. Israel and Kosovo agreed on 4 September 2020, as part of negotiations for the Kosovo and Serbia Economic Normalization agreements, to mutually recognize each other.[1] It was initially reported that the mutual recognition had not yet gone into effect at that point,[2] and Israel's recognition of Kosovo was expected to be formally declared "in the coming weeks".[3] However on 21 September the ambassador of Israel to Serbia, Yahel Vilan, confirmed that Israel had indeed recognized Kosovo on September 4, 2020.[4][5] The two countries established diplomatic relations on February 1, 2021.[6][7] On March 14, 2021 Kosovo officially opened its Embassy in West Jerusalem.[8]

Israel–Kosovo

Israel

Kosovo
Diplomatic mission
noneEmbassy of Kosovo, Jerusalem
Envoy
noneAmbassador Ines Demiri

History


Israel was initially hesitant to recognize Kosovo's independence. An Israeli Foreign Ministry official quoted by The Jerusalem Post said in February 2008: "We haven't decided when we're going to decide, and instead will monitor events and consider the issue."[9]

According to the Jewish Chronicle, Foreign Ministry officials and politicians were privately voicing a general sympathy towards the Kosovar cause, however, Israel would still not recognize Kosovo.[10] Knesset member Ruhama Avraham Balila said in February 2008 that "at present the government of Israel has made [the] decision not to join the group of countries which recognised the independence of Kosovo." She also said that Israel considers the situation "very disturbing."[11]

On 28 April 2009, Arthur Koll, the Israeli ambassador to Serbia, said that though it had been more than a year since Kosovo unilaterally declared independence, Israel had no intention of recognizing the declaration, and that "Israel is asked from time to time how solid this decision is, but the fact is that Israel's position has not changed throughout this time. The Serbian people and government should appreciate Israel's position, which also demonstrates the friendship between the two states."[12][13]

On 16 September 2009, Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel is "monitoring the situation between Serbia and Kosovo" and that Israel hopes for "a really comprehensive and peaceful solution" which would be established through negotiations between the two involved states. Lieberman also said that Israel would be able to withstand pressure to recognize Kosovo because Israel has "been under pressure since 1948 on many issues and we know how to deal with any pressure."[14] During a visit to Israel in late October 2009, Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dačić, said that "Israeli officials have confirmed that Israel will remain firm in its stand [on Kosovo]."[15]

In June 2011, Lieberman said that Kosovo's independence is a "sensitive issue" and that Israel may recognize Kosovo after other countries like Greece and Spain accept it.[16]

In 2011, Serbia voted to recognize Palestine as UNESCO's 195th member, against Israel's wishes. Belgrade declared that it would not have opposed a resolution recognizing Palestinian sovereignty, had one come before the UN General Assembly.[17]

On 4 September 2020, the State of Israel and the Republic of Kosovo agreed to establish formal diplomatic relations.[18][19][20][21][22][23] The document signed by Kosovo stated that it and Israel will recognize each other.[24] Some media reports suggested that Israel's recognition of Kosovo was not yet in effect and would be formally declared "in the coming weeks".[3] However on 21 September the ambassador of Israel to Serbia, Yahel Vilan, confirmed that Israel had in fact actually recognized Kosovo on 4 September 2020 saying "There is no doubt whether Israel will recognize Kosovo or not, because Israel already recognized Kosovo on 4 September".[5][4] In addition, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned that "Kosovo will be the first country with a Muslim majority to open an embassy in Jerusalem".[20] Israel and Kosovo established formal diplomatic relations on February 1, 2021.[25][7] On 14 March 2021, Kosovo opened its embassy in downtown West Jerusalem, although without a ceremony marking the event due to Covid-19 restrictions in Israel.[26]

See also


Notes


  1. Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008. Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the 2013 Brussels Agreement. Kosovo is currently recognized as an independent state by 96 out of the 193 United Nations member states. In total, 113 UN member states are said to have recognized Kosovo at some point, of which 15 later withdrew their recognition.

References


  1. "Kosovo and Serbia Signed Separate Pledges, Not an Agreement". Exit News. 4 September 2020. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  2. Ahren, Raphael (9 September 2020). "Serbia won't open Jerusalem embassy if Israel recognizes Kosovo – Serbian source". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  3. "Ambassador: Israel will recognize Kosovo in the coming weeks". b92. Tanjug. 11 September 2020. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  4. "Ambasador Izraela: Priznali smo Kosovo 4. septembra, to više nije pitanje". N1 (in Serbian). 21 September 2020. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  5. Bjelotomic, Snezana (22 September 2020). "Double slap for Serbia: Israel recognizes Kosovo and Vucic in conflict with the EU". Serbian Monitor. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  6. "Kosova dhe Izraeli lidhin marrëdhënie diplomatike më 1 shkurt". KOHA (in Albanian). 29 January 2021. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  7. Ayyub, Rami (1 February 2021). "Israel and Kosovo establish diplomatic relations in virtual ceremony". Reuters. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  8. "Kosovo Opens Embassy In Jerusalem, Weeks After Establishing Relations With Israel". Retrieved 14 March 2021.
  9. Mizroch, Amir (19 February 2008). "Israel won't recognize Kosovo, for now". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  10. Pfeffer, Anshel (17 July 2011). "Israel breaks ranks on Kosovo". The Jewish Chronicle. Archived 17 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  11. Израиль пока не намерен признавать независимость Косово, 2008-02-19, RIA Novosti (in Russian)
  12. "Israeli position on Kosovo firm" Archived 7 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine, B92.net, 2009-04-28
  13. Izrael ne menja stav o nezavisnosti Kosova, 2009-04-28, RTS (in Serbian)
  14. Press conference with FM Liberman in Belgrade, 2009-09-16, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  15. "Israel firm in refusing to recognize Kosovo" Archived 3 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine, B92, 2009-10-28
  16. Israeli will recognize Kosovo after Spain and Greece, says FM Archived 1 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine, AlbanianEconomy.com, 2011-06-28
  17. Primor, Adar (13 March 2012). "Israel, between Serbia and Kosovo". Haaretz. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  18. "Serbia to move embassy to Jerusalem; mostly Muslim Kosovo to recognize Israel". The Times of Israel. 9 April 2020. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  19. Riechmann, Deb (4 September 2020). "Serbia, Kosovo normalize economic ties, gesture to Israel". AP NEWS. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  20. "Serbia, Kosovo to Open Israel Embassies in Jerusalem". Reuters. 4 September 2020. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  21. "Serbian embassy to relocate to Jerusalem, Israel and Kosovo to establish diplomatic relations". mfa.gov.il. 5 September 2020. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  22. PM of Israel [@IsraeliPM] (5 September 2020). "US President @realDonaldTrump telephoned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday during the former's meeting with Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and congratulated the two leaders on their decision to establish full diplomatic relations between the two countries" (Tweet). Retrieved 4 January 2021 via Twitter.
  23. Haradinaj, Meliza [@MelizaHaradinaj] (4 September 2020). "תודה רבה ושבת שלום 🇽🇰🤝🇺🇸🤝🇮🇱 Profoundly grateful to #IsraeliGov, its people & Pres. @realDonaldTrump for #Israel's historic recognition of the Republic of #Kosovo. 🇽🇰 & 🇮🇱 share historic ties, common values & prosperous future for our peoples. FWD to 🇽🇰 Emb in #Jerusalem! t.co/29bKxL6aBW" (Tweet) (in Romanian). Retrieved 4 January 2021 via Twitter.
  24. "Kosovo and Serbia Signed Separate Pledges, Not an Agreement". Exit News. 4 September 2020. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  25. "Kosova dhe Izraeli lidhin marrëdhënie diplomatike më 1 shkurt". KOHA (in Albanian). 29 January 2021. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  26. Zhinipotoku, Zenel; Semini, Llazar (14 March 2021). "Kosovo opens embassy to Israel in Jerusalem". AFP. Retrieved 15 March 2021.