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Israel withholds ambassador to Honduras over Palestinian vote stance

JTA

August 5, 2011 | 2:28 pm

Honduras President Porfirio Lobo

Honduras President Porfirio Lobo

Israel has temporarily kept its ambassador to Honduras in Jerusalem after the Central American nation said it would vote for a Palestinian state at the United Nations next month.

Honduras had previously expressed support for a negotiated settlement between Israelis and Palestinians. The new policy statement appeared on the website of the country’s center-right president, Porfirio Lobo.

The new policy was particularly surprising given the close relationship of the two countries’ militaries.

On Sunday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry called the Honduran ambassador to Israel to convey “surprise” and “disapointment,” and to remind the ambassador that “Israel had supported Honduras during difficult periods” and “[there is] a great and long-standing friendship between the two countries.”

Both the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the Anti-Defamation League called on Honduras to “clarify” its position. The ADL urged Honduras and the other member states of the Central American Integration System, or SICA, to refrain from supporting the Palestinians’ statehood bid at the U.N.

“We strongly urge the government of Honduras and all of the member states of SICA to oppose any recognition of an independent Palestinian state that is not the result of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians,” said the ADL’s national director, Abraham Foxman, in a statement. “It is critically important for the international community to support the creation of a Palestinian state which is established in a spirit of peace and reconciliation. This can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties.”

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