In an anticipated step: Honduras to move its Israel embassy to Jerusalem
Honduras hopes to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv by the end of 2020, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday, a move likely to anger the Palestinians.
“To strengthen our strategic alliance, we spoke to arrange the opening of the embassies in Tegucigalpa and Jerusalem, respectively,” Hernandez wrote on Twitter. “We hope to take this historic step before the end of the year, as long as the pandemic allows it.”
Netanyahu said the intention was to open and inaugurate the embassies before the end of the year. Israel currently has no embassy in Honduras but opened a diplomatic office there last month.
Only two countries – the United States and Guatemala – have already opened embassies in Jerusalem. The Honduran statement followed announcements by U.S. President Donald Trump and Netanyahu this month who said Kosovo and Serbia would also open embassies in Jerusalem.
Hernandez last year began a process of breaking with his country’s long-held policy of neutrality on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Hernandez opened a commercial office in Jerusalem in September 2019 as an extension of the Honduran embassy in Tel Aviv.
“Honduras recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and we are confident that this recognition will be of great blessing and mutual benefit,” Hernandez said last month.
Honduras has the second-largest population of Palestinians in Latin America, after Chile.
On the other hand, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed agreements in Washington to establish formal ties with Israel, a move forged partly through shared fears of Iran but one that could leave the Palestinians further isolated.
The status of Jerusalem has been one of the thorniest issues in the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Palestinians want East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, as the capital of a future state.
While Israel regards all of the city, including the eastern sector it annexed after the 1967 war, as its capital.
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