In more good news for Israel and its expanding “circle of peace,” Honduras and Israel both announced the opening of their countries’ embassies in the other nations’ respective capitals by the end of this year.
“With their flags flying in the capitals of the two countries, Israel and Honduras declare their intention to complete the action plan before the end of the current year, with a mutual opening and inauguration of their embassies in the national capitals, Tegucigalpa and Jerusalem,” according to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office on Sunday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández issued a joint statement. Hernández , however, in his post on Twitter, added a caveat: “We hope to take this historic step before the end of the year, as long as the pandemic allows it.”
Israel is currently on a three-week lockdown with only essential services and establishments opener business.
Netanyahu referred to an expanding “circle of peace” in his speech in Washington D.C. last week where he signed peace agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Both Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump have projected that other Arab nations are expected to make peace with Israel, soon. Hernández congratulated Netanyahu and called the normalization agreements a “revolution of peace in the region,” the statement said.
Currently only the United States and Guatemala have their embassies in Jerusalem. Honduras recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in August 2019 and its announcement to move its embassy comes a few weeks after both Serbia and Kosovo they would move their embassies to Jerusalem within the next 12 months. The UAE and Bahrain will begin discussion with Israel about each country establishing diplomatic offices in each other’s countries.
Other countries that have pledged to move their embassies to Jerusalem include Brazil, Hungary, Moldova and Romania.
Honduras’ decision was not an easy one to come by: The country is home to the second-largest population of Palestinians in Latin America so the decision to move the embassy was “an important political achievement.”
“They told me there’s no chance that Honduras will move its embassy because there is a large Palestinian community there. I didn’t give up,” Israel’s ambassador to Honduras and Guatemala, Mattanya Cohen, told Army Radio on Monday. “We started with quiet contacts behind the scenes, with ministers, with parliament members, and the community.”
Netanyahu vowed to strengthen the “true friendship” between the two countries with tourism, investments, technology, agriculture, education and trade.
Most diplomatic missions in Israel are located in Tel Aviv so as to stay neutral on the status of Jerusalem.