Romania and Honduras commit to Jerusalem embassy move

Speaking at AIPAC, Romania’s prime minister said she will move her country’s embassy to Jerusalem. Honduras’ president says his country will set up a diplomatic mission in the city.

By David Jablinowitz and Joseph Wolkin

Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila says that her country intends to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. She was speaking on Sunday at the AIPAC pro-Israel lobby annual policy conference in Washington.

She is said to have made this pledge before, but reportedly the Romanian president has stood in the way of such a move. Romania currently serves in the rotating position of president of the European Union Council.

A Romanian move of its embassy to Jerusalem would come on the heels of last year’s opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

Dancila also unveiled a plan to allow those who were forced out of Romania to apply for citizenship. Romania will also begin the process of Holocaust reparations.

“We are telling you about granting special compensations and pensions for Romanian Holocaust survivors,” she said.

Additionally, there will be worldwide access to archives from the Holocaust “to make sure history is preserved.”

Honduras diplomatic mission

Also at the AIPAC event, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado said that his country would immediately set up a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem, serving as a branch of the embassy currently located in Rishon LeZion, a city south of Tel Aviv.

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The diplomatic mission is meant as an interim step as Honduras reached an agreement with the U.S. and Israel to work on the opening of an embassy in the city.

“Today, I announced that we are going to take the first step. I already communicated to the government of Israel that we are ready to open a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem in Israel,” Hernandez said at a press conference.

Hernandez said that he understands the move will be opposed in Honduras by what he called “radical groups.” But he believes it is the right thing to do.

A year ago, Honduras sided with Israel against a  U.N. General Assembly resolution that condemned President Donald Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital. “We vote with Israel because it’s the right thing to do,” Hernandez said.

“I had the opportunity to have a fellowship in Israel,” Hernandez said. “It was life-changing.”

Hernandez added that Israel has been a major factor in Honduras’ fight against crime. When he became president in 2014, the country faced the highest homicide rate in the world.

But over the last five years, that number has significantly decreased. President Hernandez said that is partly because of Israel.

“Thanks to the help of Israel and the United States,” he said, “We stated that nobody is above the law.”

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Other countries have also promised to move their embassies to Israel’s capital.

Brazil’s president said that it’s just a matter of time until his country’s Embassy moves to Jerusalem. But recent reports indicated that he is facing resistance from the “old guard” within the Brazilian establishment and the Arab world.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the AIPAC conference on Tuesday after meeting with President Donald Trump on Monday.

Netanyahu has stressed his close relationship with Trump, citing the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, the move of the American Embassy to Jerusalem, and most recently, the president’s declaration of recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is expected to become official during the prime minister’s current visit to the U.S.