Honduran President Opens Diplomatic Office in Jerusalem

Palestinians to file complaint over Honduras Jerusalem move

TEL AVIV – Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez on Sunday opened a trade mission in Jerusalem, a move he said was a “first step” toward transferring his country’s embassy to the city.

“Today is a historic day for Honduras and Israel,” Hernandez said.

He added that he would move Honduras’ embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem next month.

The trade office, which also has diplomatic status, will bring “more investment and more opportunities for the Honduran people,” Hernandez said.

At the inauguration ceremony, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Hernandez for opening this “important mission” and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Netanyahu said that Jerusalem has been “our capital since the time of King David.”

“I have committed, and this is a commitment I want to repeat again: We will open embassies simultaneously,” the Israeli premier said. “We are going to open an office of trade and technology in Tegucigalpa soon. Now. Next week. There is this reciprocity of friends, genuine friends.”

So far, only Guatemala has followed the U.S.’s lead in moving its embassy to Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Authority last week slammed Honduras’ opening of a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem and threatened to appeal to the United Nations over the Latin American country’s supposedly “hostile act against the Palestinian people and their inalienable rights.”

The World Jewish Congress said the move was “praiseworthy.”

“It is more important than ever that Israel’s friends and allies embark on concrete gestures such as these in the face of increasing anti-Zionist sentiments around the world, including among some of the most influential agencies and bodies representing the international community,” the group’s president, Ronald S. Lauder, said.

Prior to the inauguration ceremony, Hernandez prayed at the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City.

“The State of Israel can consider Honduras a close sister. We now begin a new relationship,” Hernandez said after his visit to the Wall.

“Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to represent Honduras at this time, to promise the fellowship with Israel,” he wrote in the Jewish holy site’s guest book. “May this be the beginning of a blessing for our people. Thank you Israel, our brothers, who keep guard of this holy city. May peace keep spreading among the nations.”

The Foreign Ministry has launched a relocation incentives program to encourage other countries to transfer their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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