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Palestinians condemn Kosovo for opening embassy in Jerusalem

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The Palestinians on Monday condemned Kosovo for opening an embassy in Jerusalem, after it became the first Muslim-majority territory to recognize the disputed city as Israel’s capital.

Kosovo, which formally opened the embassy on Sunday, made the move in exchange for Israel recognizing the independence it declared in 2008 following a war with Serbia in the 1990s.

The Palestinians, who claim the eastern part of Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, have fiercely criticized Kosovo over the move.

It is “a violation of international law,” Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, was quoted as saying by the official Wafa news agency.

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The Hamas Islamist that controls the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip also blasted Kosovo, accusing it of “appalling bias” toward Israel.

Turkey had criticized the embassy opening on Sunday.

On Monday, Jordan’s foreign ministry spokesman Dhaifallah Ali Al-Fayez said any moves to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital were “null... and have no legal effect.”

The official embassy opening on Sunday included a brief ceremony during which Kosovo’s flag was raised in front of the building in Jerusalem.

Serbia has refused to acknowledge the independence of its former province, so while Kosovo has now been recognized by much of the Western world, its rejection by Belgrade’s key allies Russia and China has locked it out of the United Nations.

Israel had been another key holdout until last month, when it established diplomatic ties with Kosovo.

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