El Salvador and Costa Rica slammed for pulling embassies

A Jerusalem-based Christian Evangelical organization on Wednesday lambasted the recent decisions by the governments of Costa Rica and El Salvador to move their embassies from the capital to Tel Aviv, and urged them to reconsider the move. "We are appalled by their recent decisions to... withdraw their embassies from Jerusalem, supposedly because of the recent war in Lebanon," the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem said in a press release. "In actual fact, this war was good reason for them to stay, because Israel was undoubtedly the victim of Hizbullah's aggression, in violation of Israel's agreement with the United Nations in the year 2000, when it withdrew from Lebanon to internationally verified and recognized borders," said Malcolm Hedding, the organization's executive director. The International Christian Embassy opened its Jerusalem office in 1980 as a sign of solidarity with Israel at a time when 13 foreign embassies pulled out of the city following the Knesset's landmark declaration that Jerusalem is and should remain the eternal capital of the State of Israel. Over the last quarter century, Costa Rica and El Salvador were the only two countries to have an embassy in Jerusalem and their recent back-to-back decision to pull out will leave Israel's capital without any foreign embassy for the first time in 25 years. Israel had repeatedly urged the US to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem over the years, and several US administrations have promised to make the move, but have never done so. The International Christian Embassy has been playing a leading role in the burgeoning relations between Israel and Evangelical Christians around the world. "Though not accredited with official diplomatic status, the International Christian Embassy does represent the views of millions of Christians worldwide who believe their nations should place their embassies here," the group said.