by: Kate Norman
Monday, 21 September 2020 | After speaking over the phone with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said his nation will open an embassy in Jerusalem by the end of the year, according to a joint statement released by Netanyahu’s office.
President Hernandez confirmed the announcement in a Twitter post.
“I just had a chat with the Prime Minister @netanyahu to strengthen our strategic alliance and agree to open the embassies in Tegucigalpa and Jerusalem respectively,” Hernandez said. “We hope to take this historic step before the end of the year, as long as the pandemic allows it.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu pledged to strengthen the ties between Jerusalem and Tegucigalpa by cooperating on development, tourism, investment, technology, agriculture, education and trade, according to the joint statement.
The statement described President Hernandez as an “active friend of Israel,” noting how Honduras, under Hernandez’s leadership, joined a small number of other nations to vote down a UN resolution condemning the US for moving its embassy to Jerusalem and often sides with Israel in the international body that so often condemns the Jewish state.
Honduras also recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2019 and opened a commercial office in Jerusalem just a few months later.
“Today, with their flags flying over each other’s capital cities, Israel and Honduras wish to announce the intention to complete the plan of action, before the end of this year, with the reciprocal opening and inauguration of their embassies in the national capitals, Tegucigalpa and Jerusalem,” the joint statement read.
The historic move had its obstacles, however. Israel’s ambassador to Honduras and Guatemala told Army Radio of the struggles she had to overcome to bring about the move.
“They told me there’s no chance that Honduras will move its embassy because there is a large Palestinian community there,” Mattanya Cohen said, referring to the fact that Honduras holds the second largest Palestinian community in Latin America, after Chile. “I didn’t give up. We started with quiet contacts behind the scenes, with ministers, with parliament members, and the community.”
This is the latest in a series of international diplomatic victories for the Jewish state. Following the US-brokered Abraham Accords between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which were officially signed in Washington DC last week, more and more nations have been flocking toward warmer relations with Jerusalem. More Arab states are expected to join the UAE and Bahrain, with potential nations including Sudan, Morocco, Oman, and most recently, Kuwait, after President Donald Trump met with the son of the state’s ruler.
Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017 and moved the US embassy to the capital in 2019, followed by Guatemala. They will be joined soon by the African nation of Chad, who plans to open a diplomatic office in Jerusalem. Serbia also announced an embassy move to Jerusalem, and Muslim-majority Kosovo announced it will recognize the Jewish state and eventually move its embassy to Jerusalem as well, according to Netanyahu.
It seems every day brings a new announcement of another nation advancing peace with Israel.
Posted on September 21, 2020
Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 21, 2020)
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