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Palestine, OIC condemns Honduras' move to open embassy in occupied Jerusalem al-Quds

Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid (R) shakes hands with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez (C-L) as Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett (C-R) shakes hands with Honduran Foreign Minister Lisandro (L) during the signing of bilateral agreements at the prime minister's Office in occupied Jerusalem al-Quds, on June 24, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have strongly condemned Honduras for moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Israeli-occupied Jerusalem al-Quds, describing the move as a flagrant violation of international law.

The Palestinian foreign ministry said in a statement that the measure blatantly contradicts the 2011 decision by the Central American country to recognize Palestine as an independent state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

The statement added that the step also constitutes an unjustified opposition to the right of Palestinian people to self-determination. 

It, therefore, violates the Honduran Constitution, which stipulates in its Article 15 that “Honduras supports the principles and practices of international law, that promote the solidarity and self-determination of peoples, nonintervention and the strengthening of universal peace and democracy.”

Separately, the OIC termed the relocation of the Honduran embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds “an illegitimate action and a violation of international law and relevant UN resolutions, particularly Security Council resolution 478 (1980), which calls on the UN member states to withdraw their diplomatic missions from the sacred city.”

The OIC General Secretariat called on Honduras to reverse its illegal decision, stressing the need for the international community to double its efforts to achieve a just and comprehensive settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of UN resolutions and the so-called 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, and to work towards establishment of the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

Turkey also condemned Honduras for moving its embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds. 

“It was an unfortunate development that Honduras moved its embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (al-Quds) and the opening of the embassy took place on June 24. We condemn this decision,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“By this step, Honduras has violated international law, including United Nations resolutions on the status of Jerusalem (al-Quds), damaging its vision of a two-state solution and peace prospects in the region,” it said.

Turkey also invited Honduras to return from “this misstep.”

On Thursday, Honduras transferred its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds, breaking a decades-long policy of neutrality in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez and Israel’s new prime minister Naftali Bennett signed several bilateral cooperation agreements on Thursday to mark the occasion.

Honduras became the fourth country to follow the US move under former president Donald Trump to relocate its chief diplomatic mission in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds. The other two states are Guatemala and Kosovo.

Trump sparked controversy by officially recognizing Jerusalem al-Quds as the Israeli ‘capital’ in December 2017, before moving the US embassy there from Tel Aviv in May 2018.

Guatemala and Paraguay later followed in Washington’s footstep, before the latter reversed its decision after just four months.

Israel lays claim to the entire Jerusalem al-Quds, but the international community views the city’s eastern sector as occupied territory and Palestinians consider it the capital of their future state.

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