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Honduran President Juan Hernandez said in a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Honduras will move its embassy to Jerusalem.

In a statement on Twitter, Hernandez said that he spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu “to strengthen our strategic alliance and agree to open the embassies in Tegucigalpa and Jerusalem respectively.”

He added that “We hope to take this historic step before the end of the year, as long as the pandemic allows it.”

Hernandez also congratulated Netanyahu on the historic normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain earlier this month, in addition to sending warm greetings for the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

In response, Netanyahu expressed his appreciation for Honduras’ solid support for Israel, while also reiterating the latter’s commitement to strengthening the Israel-Honduras partnership through development projects, cooperation, tourism, investment, technology, agriculture, education and trade.

The Honduran president 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 also voted in December 2017 against the UN decision to condemn the then-US plan to move its embassy to Jerusalem. 

According to The Jerusalem Post’s sister publication Maariv, the two countries plan to hold inauguration ceremonies of their embassies in the national capitals, Tegucigalpa and Jerusalem.

Currently there are two foreign embassies stationed in Jerusalem, with the United States having moved its embassy from Tel Aviv in May 2018, followed by Guatemala a few days afterwards. Other countries have also pledged to move their embassies to Jerusalem, including Brazil, Hungary, Moldova, Romania and most recently, Serbia and Kosovo.

The move of foreign embassies to Israel’s capital is considered controversial due to the unclear political status of Jerusalem, which is widely seen as disputed by the international community following the Jewish state’s unification of the city during the 1967 Six Day War.

The status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with most of the international community having viewed the unification of the city by Israel, particularly East Jerusalem, as an illegal annexation. Israel considers the city as its unified eternal capital.

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Date published: 18/10/2020
Feature image: U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East George J. Mitchell meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister Office in Jerusalem October 30, 2009. [State Department photo by Matty Stern U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv / Public Domain]

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