President Trump announced yet another historic peace agreement signed between Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti in the White House on Friday.
Balkans meet the Holy Land
The agreement established for the first time in more than two decades the normalization of economic relations between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. In an addendum to the agreement, Serbia agreed to move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in July 2021. Israel and Kosovo agreed to mutual recognition of each other and to establish diplomatic relations. Kosovo also announced that they would locate their embassy in Jerusalem. In doing so, Serbia will become the first European, and Kosovo the first Muslim majority country, to have embassies in Jerusalem.
Haters weigh in
Though Kosovo and Serbia are both located in Europe, they are not members of the European Union. There are no EU member states with embassies in Jerusalem and the EU, along with the United Nations, criticized President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
To date, there are only three embassies in Jerusalem: The United States, Guatemala, and the International Christian Embassy.
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci tweeted his intention to move the embassy.
I welcome the announcement of Israeli PM @netanyahu about the genuine intention to recognize #Kosovo and establish diplomatic relations. Kosovo will keep its promise to place its diplomatic mission in #Jerusalem
— Hashim Thaçi (@HashimThaciRKS) September 4, 2020
Recognizing Israel’s enemies
As an additional nod to Israel, both countries agreed to designate the Islamic group Hezbollah in its entirety as “a terrorist organization.” And as part of President Trump’s opposition to China’s plan for global economic domination, both countries agreed to prohibit the use of “5G equipment supplied by untrusted vendors in their communications network.”
Trump expressed hope that the Serbia-Kosovo agreement would bring more peace in its wake.
“We’ve also made additional progress on reaching peace in the Middle East. I will say that Kosovo and Israel have agreed to normalization of ties and the establishment of diplomatic relations. The agreement we made with UAE [and Israel] has been incredible,” Trump said.
He added: “We have other countries in the Middle East coming very much to us and saying, like, ‘When do we go? When can we sign?’ I think we’re going to have great peace in the Middle East. And nobody has been able to say that for a long time.”
At the signing event, Vice President Mike Pence noted the role Jerusalem had in the agreement, adding a quote from the New Testament: “Like the good book says, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers.”
David Parsons, the Vice President and Senior International Spokesman for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, noted that the ICEJ was established in 1980 with the vision of Jerusalem playing a central role in world peace.
“We are inspired by the vision of the Hebrew prophets that one day there will be an age of peace,” Mr. Parsons told Israel 365 News. “The Jews call it the Age of Redemption and the Christians call it the Age of the Messiah. But until we get there, there will be wars and conflict. This age is happening right now in an unusual time; with the Arab Emirates and possibly with Saudi Arabia.”
He noted that the peace agreements with the Arab and Muslim nations bore a special spiritual significance.
“This Muslim Arab Zionism is a recapturing of the Truth that the Koran affirms that God, what they call Allah, gave the land of Israel to the descendants of Jacob,” Mr. Parsons said. “This is a reconciliation of the Abrahamic religions and a reawakening of the centrality of Jerusalem.”
“As a Christian organization, we welcome this agreement in which they are finally giving Jerusalem its due. We don’t necessarily agree with everything in the agreement, aspects that may not be based on the Hebrew prophets or centered on the Messiah.”
Mr. Parsons also noted the political implications were also timely and great.
“Trump’s reelection is a central part of this. Globalization talks about peace but it is not centered on Jerusalem.”
“History is passing the Palestinians by. They are stuck in a Marxist revolution in an attempt to capture the whole land for themselves. They can’t break away from that.”
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, praised the agreement as an achievement that will bring more peace in its wake.
The establishment of relations with Kosovo is an impressive achievement, and will soon lead to more Muslim countries choosing peace with Israel and leaving the rejectionist Palestinians isolated. pic.twitter.com/tHpwQ04cZ2
— Ambassador Gilad Erdan גלעד ארדן (@giladerdan1) September 5, 2020
Predictable response from PA
The Palestinian Authority saw the agreement as a distraction from peace. PA negotiator Saeb Erekat tweeted, “Palestine has become a victim of the electoral ambitions of President Trump, whose team would take any action, no matter how destructive for peace and a rules-based world order, to achieve his re-election. This, just like the UAE-Israel agreement, isn’t about Middle East Peace.”
A brief history
The agreement is especially significant as the two countries have a long and bitter history. Kosovo broke away from Serbia in 1999 when NATO bombed Soviet-allied Serbia for 11 weeks to halt the massacre and expulsion of Kosovo Albanian civilians. Serbia was forced to withdraw its police and armed forces from KosovoKosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, a move that Serbia rejected. Until this agreement, Serbia did not recognize Kosovo as an independent state. The two countries are also divided by religion. Kosovo is a majority Muslim whereas the majority of Serbians are Christian.
Below is the signing of the agreement: