Honduras and Nauru have both recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel this past week. On Thursday, President of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernández visited Jerusalem to open a diplomatically recognized trade office. According to Hernández, the office will act as an extension of the embassy in Tel Aviv. Palestinian officials have openly criticized Nauru and Honduras, describing the decision as a “blatant violation of international law and legitimacy.” The Palestinian foreign ministry will submit a complaint to the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. The opening of the office could result in the relocation of the Honduran embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization stated that, “Honduras has aligned itself with rogue states that disregard international law and willfully undermine its standing.” She later added that Palestine will have to “reassess its relationship” with Honduras.
In response to Nauru’s recognition of Jerusalem, Foreign Minister Israel Katz was quoted commending the decision on Wednesday evening in a tweet that stated, “We will continue to strengthen Jerusalem and to bring about the recognition and opening of diplomatic missions and embassies in our capital. While the response from Ashrawi similarly condemned Nauru, she also highlighted the role that economic considerations can play in such situations. She suggested that UN voting and other, “Such obligations must not be compromised by financial or other considerations.”
When nations entertain the idea of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it seems likely that they are not considering the ‘legitimacy’ or ‘fairness’ of that act. Instead, as Ashrawi points out, it is likely a result of economic or security considerations. In 2018, in an attempt to achieve greater recognition, Benjamin Netanyahu promised preferential treatment to the first ten countries to move their embassies to Jerusalem. However, in the case of Honduras, according to the Israel Times, the recognition of Israel may be influenced by desires to create deeper ties with the current US administration. Regardless of the reasoning, the decision to recognize Jerusalem contravenes international law and consensus on the issue, and completely disregards the plight of everyday Palestinians. This has been particularly obvious since the U.S. decision to move their embassy to Jerusalem last year.
Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem was highly contentious. It sparked mass protests on the day Trump visited, particularly on the Gaza strip. As a result, over 60 Palestinians were killed, with thousands more injured. Since the move, a handful of other countries have followed suit, or initiated the process to formally recognize Israel. These countries are generally U.S. allies such as Australia, or motivated by a desire to become closer with U.S., such as Guatemala and Paraguay. However, Paraguay has since reversed their decision.
While more countries are beginning formally recognize Israel, it is yet unclear whether this will continue. The decision to recognize Israel subverts international law, and the prevailing international consensus of achieving a two-state solution. The motivations of these countries must be thoroughly examined. By lending legitimacy to Israel, these countries are also implicitly supporting the tactics being used by the administration against protestors. This is unacceptable, and these countries should immediately withdraw support from Israel until greater efforts are made to achieve the two-state solution.
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