Originally published in
By CODY LEVINE
SEPTEMBER 21, 2020 19:23
Currently there are two foreign embassies in Jerusalem, with the United States having moved its embassy in May 2018, followed by Guatemala.
Honduras will move its embassy to Jerusalem, Honduran President Juan Hernandez said in a recent telephone conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In a statement on Twitter, Hernandez said he had spoken with Netanyahu “to strengthen our strategic alliance and agree to open the embassies in Tegucigalpa and Jerusalem, respectively.”
“We hope to take this historic step before the end of the year, as long as the pandemic allows it,” he said.
Acabo de conversar con el Primer Ministro @netanyahu para afianzar nuestra alianza estratégica y acordar la apertura de las embajadas en Tegucigalpa y Jerusalén respectivamente.
Esperamos dar este paso histórico antes de fin de año, siempre y cuando la pandemia lo permita.
— Juan Orlando H. (@JuanOrlandoH) September 20, 2020
Hernandez congratulated Netanyahu on the recent normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain and offered warm greetings for Rosh Hashanah.
In response, Netanyahu expressed his appreciation for Honduras’s solid support for Israel, citing its commitment to strengthening the bilateral partnership through development projects, cooperation, tourism, investment, technology, agriculture, education and trade.
US Secretary of State Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus also praised Honduras’ decision to move the embassy by the end of the year, saying on Twitter that “The momentum continues toward increased cooperation with Israel and other nations! Glad to hear that Honduras and Israel are strengthening their relations by committing to opening embassies in their respective capitals by year’s end. This is good news for Israelis and Hondurans.”
Meanwhile, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erakat condemned the announcement, saying on Twitter that “Statement of the Honduran President on embassy move to Jerusalem is a continuation of their complicit UN voting record. Being proud of announcing a violation of Honduras’ obligations under Int. Law shows his disrespect for the law in general and for the Int. System in particular.”
Hernandez has been a strong ally of Israel for many years, having graduated from Mashav, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation leadership program. Under Hernandez’s leadership, Honduras voted in December 2017 against the UN decision to condemn the then-US plan to move its embassy to Jerusalem.
The two countries plan to hold inauguration ceremonies of their embassies in the national capitals, Tegucigalpa and Jerusalem, according to The Jerusalem Post’s sister publication Maariv.
Currently, there are two foreign embassies in Jerusalem. The United States moved its embassy from Tel Aviv in May 2018, and Guatemala did so a few days later. Other countries have pledged to move their embassies to Jerusalem, including Brazil, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Kosovo.
The move of foreign embassies to Jerusalem is considered controversial due to the city’s unclear political status, which is widely seen as disputed by the international community following reunification during the Six Day War in 1967.