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Jair Messias Bolsonaro, Brazil's new president-elect, said he plans to visit Israel soon and move Brazil's embassy in the country from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, following the courageous lead of the US. "Israel's PM called the plan 'a historic, correct and exciting step".

Asuncion has since backtracked by announcing the return of its embassy to Tel Aviv.

The US and Guatemala have recently moved their embassies to Jerusalem, but most countries choose to remain in Tel Aviv.

The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, as the capital of a future state.

Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the worldwide community.

Bolsonaro has previously said he wants Moro to serve as his justice minister and eventually join the Supreme Court.

In December, President Donald Trump reversed long-standing United States policy and recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, prompting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to boycott his administration.

Bolsonaro also said that he meant to shift the Palestinian Embassy in Brasilia, saying, "It was built too close to the presidential palace".

"The Argentine government... congratulates Jair Bolsonaro for his victory in the second voting round", said the Argentine Foreign Ministry in a statement, describing the elections as a testament to the "strength of Brazil's democratic institutions".

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Brazil's outgoing Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi on Wednesday also criticized the plans, saying that the environment ministry's portfolio includes areas that deal with energy, infrastructure and a wide variety of subjects that do not fit with the agriculture ministry's mandate.

"These are provocative and illegal steps that will only destabilise security and stability in the region", said Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's executive committee.

"There will be people to advise him on the impacts and he will listen", he said.

He repeated his oft-used line that environmentalists are "Shiites", a word he uses to imply extremism.

Bolsonaro told reporters outside his home late Thursday that Moro had asked for "total liberty" to operate, and he would have it.

At a later news conference, Bolsonaro again said he might change his mind in relation to the proposed merger.

The level of corruption was breathtaking for Brazilians long inured to graft, and the scandal has reverberated across several Latin American countries where Odebrecht, one of the companies at the center of the scandal, did business.

Moro sentenced Lula - a hugely divisive but enduringly popular figure - to jail for taking bribes from a Petrobras contractor.


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