Palestinians condemn Honduras, Nauru moves on Jerusalem status

Officials call new Honduras diplomatic office ‘direct aggression’, slam Nauru’s recognition of city as Israeli capital.

Israeli police clash with Palestinian worshippers in Jerusalem''s Old City
Israeli police pictured at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem's Old City [File: Ammar Awad/Reuters]

Palestinian officials say they will lodge a complaint to the United Nations against Honduras over its controversial decision to open a diplomatic office in Jerusalem, a move the Central American country has described as recognition of the disputed city as Israel’s capital.

Israel considers all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital, while Palestinian leaders see the eastern part of the city as the capital of their future state.

Earlier this week, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said he would visit Israel and attend the inauguration of the diplomatic office this weekend.

The mission will be an extension of Honduras’ Tel Aviv-based embassy, but Hernandez said on Tuesday it was “recognition that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.”

In a statement on Thursday, the Palestinian foreign ministry confirmed it would submit a formal complaint against Honduras to Antonio Guterres, the UN’s secretary-general.

It called the decision a “direct aggression” against the Palestinian people and a “blatant violation of international law and legitimacy”.

“Honduras has aligned itself with rogue states that disregard international law and willfully undermine its standing,” Hanan Ashrawi, member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said in a statement.

She added the Palestinian leadership will “reassess its relationship” with Honduras.

“The status of Jerusalem as an occupied city is endorsed by the vast majority of states, in line with their standing legal and moral obligations to uphold international law,” Ashrawi said.

Condemnation of Nauru

Ashrawi also condemned the tiny Pacific Ocean island state of Nauru, which recently recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“Nauru is violating also its obligations under international law and the UN Charter and must be held accountable for these violations,” Ashrawi said.

Nauru, which does not have an official capital city and is home to 13,000 people, presented a letter to Israel’s mission in the UN on August 16 that stated its “honour” in undertaking the decision.

Yuval Rotem, Israel’s director-general of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tweeted on Thursday that Nauru’s action “reflects the close ties and friendship” between the two states.

Breaking with international consensus

Israel occupied predominantly Palestinian East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed the territory in a move that was never recognised by the international community.

Around 200,000 Israelis now live in occupied East Jerusalem in settlements considered illegal under international law.

In December 2017, United States President Donald Trump broke with decades of international consensus that Jerusalem’s status should be decided in peace talks, recognising the city as Israel’s capital and announcing a plan to move his country’s embassy there from Tel Aviv.

The US embassy was opened on May 14, 2018, on the same day when at least 60 Palestinians protesting against the decision in the besieged Gaza Strip were killed by Israeli forces.

Both the US and Israel have since encouraged other countries to move their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

So far only Guatemala and Paraguay have done so, with the latter reversing its decision.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies