In a deepening of Honduras’ ties with Israel, the Central American country will open an embassy in Jerusalem later this month, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez announced on Thursday.
“We are going to formalize what we have already carried out step by step, which is the installation of our embassy in Jerusalem,” said Hernandez.
Hernandez tweeted that he will visit the holy city in late June to inaugurate the embassy. Its transfer from Tel Aviv, he said, “will empower us on the agricultural side, in the field of innovation and in the field of tourism.”
After Chile, Honduras has Latin America’s largest Palestinian population and in 2011, recognized Palestine before establishing diplomatic ties with the Palestinians in 2013.
But in a blow to the Palestinians, Honduras was one of just nine countries to vote against a UN resolution in December 2017 asking member states not to relocate their diplomatic missions to Jerusalem. The vote came as US President Donald Trump formally recognized Israel’s capital as Jerusalem, and months later the US Embassy was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, as the capital of their future independent state. Israel views the disputed city as its "undivided capital."
Honduras is one of several countries to follow the United States in opening an embassy in Jerusalem, along with Kosovo and Guatemala. In August 2019, Hernandez recognized Israel’s capital as Jerusalem and Honduras opened a commercial office in the city the following month that served as an extension of the embassy in Tel Aviv.
Following a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in September 2020, Hernandez announced that Israel and Honduras had agreed to open embassies in Tegucigalpa and Jerusalem, respectively.
In February, Honduras received 5,000 surplus Moderna vaccine doses from Israel as part of the Jewish state’s effort to donate surplus shots to friendly, low-income countries.