Middle East Monitor – Honduras has opened a new embassy in Jerusalem, Anadolu has reported. The opening ceremony was attended by President Juan Orlando Hernandez and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. This is the third country to open an embassy in the city after the US and Guatemala, even though the international community does not recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“You have arrived here on the occasion of the inauguration of the headquarters of the Honduran Embassy in Jerusalem, the reopening of the headquarters of the Israeli Embassy in Tegucigalpa [the capital of Honduras] and signing of cooperation agreements,” Bennett told Hernandez. “This is more evidence of the deep ties of friendship and the strong relations that binds the Jewish state [sic], the State of Israel, with Honduras, the people and state.”
Bennett mentioned that Honduras stands consistently with Israel in international institutions.
An official statement pointed out that the two leaders held a one-on-one meeting before a work session with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and his Honduran counterpart.
“At the end of the meeting, the two foreign ministers signed a memorandum of understanding on projects in the fields of agriculture, water resources management, health and education, and scientific exchange in the field of innovation development,” said officials.
Bennett took the opportunity to reveal his policy towards the Gaza Strip. “Things will be different from now on for Gaza,” he said. “The rule we act on is simple: their actions either bring them closer to us or push them away from us. They will be tested not by the statements they make but by the actions they take.”
The Palestinian factions demand that Israel should lift its siege on Gaza completely, and allow the reconstruction of the territory, in which more than two million Palestinians live. However, Israel refuses to facilitate the reconstruction process before Hamas releases four Israelis, two of them soldiers, who are being held in Gaza. The movement rejects this, and insists on a general prisoner swap deal. Israel currently holds 4,500 Palestinian political prisoners.