Philippines denies plan to transfer embassy to Jerusalem

MANILA, Philippines – Contrary to media reports in Israel, the Philippines is not among the countries reportedly planning to move its embassy to Jerusalem.

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano denied the report, saying the country is not going to make such a "blind giant leap" because it is for the "peaceful resolution of the conflict."

Cayetano was interviewed by GMA News after a news wire agency named the Philippines as among countries coordinating with Israel about the possible transfer.

Cayetano said the Philippines supports a two-state policy. Israelis see the whole of the city as their undivided capital while the Palestinians view the east as the capital of their future state.

“We are for peaceful resolution of conflict....In diplomacy, unless there is an urgent situation, you don’t just take a blind giant leap. You study all of these. There’s going to be a balancing act. Plus there's so much history and context there," Cayetano told GMA News.

Guatemela has announced plans to transfer, which Palestine slammed as shameful. "The state of Palestine considers this as a flagrant act of hostility against the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and international law," the Palestinian foreign ministry said. 

The developments come weeks after after US President Donald Trump announced that the US is recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Trump's decision was rejected by two-thirds of United Nations member states, reaffirming that the status of Jerusalem must be resolved through negotiations. The Philippines is among 35 countries that abstained in that vote. (EXPLAINER: What is the world's position on Jerusalem?)

Majority of the 10 million Filipinos working abroad are in the Middle East. Cayetano said the Philippines abstained because it is important that the country is "friends to all and enemies to none."

Israel seized the eastern part of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community.

Several mainly Latin American countries had diplomatic missions in Jerusalem until a 1980 UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel's attempt to alter the "character and status" of the city, saying it was a barrier to peace.

No country currently has an embassy in Jerusalem, instead keeping them in the Israeli commercial capital Tel Aviv. – with reports from Agence France-Presse