Angela Merkel and Mahmoud Abbas address the media at the Chancellery in Berlin. Associated Press
The Palestinian foreign ministry said on Thursday it would file a complaint at the United Nations against Honduras, after the Central American state recognised the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Israel considers all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern part of the city as the capital of their future state.
US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as capital of the Jewish state in December 2017, breaking with decades of international consensus that the city’s status should be decided in peace talks.
Both Washington and Israel have since encouraged other countries to take similar steps.
So far only Guatemala and Paraguay have transferred their embassies, and Paraguay later reversed its decision.
On Tuesday, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez announced that his country would open a diplomatic office in Jerusalem.
The mission will be an extension of Honduras’ Tel Aviv-based embassy, but Hernandez said Tuesday it was “recognition that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.” In a statement on Thursday, the Palestinian foreign ministry confirmed it would submit a formal complaint against Honduras to the UN’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
It called the decision a “direct aggression” against the Palestinian people and a “blatant violation of international law and legitimacy.”
Israel occupied predominantly Palestinian east Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it in moves never recognised by the international community.
Around 200,000 Israelis now live in east Jerusalem in settlements considered illegal by much of the international community.
In a statement, senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said the leadership would “reassess its relationship with Honduras”.
“The status of Jerusalem as an occupied city is endorsed by the vast majority of states, in line with their standing legal and moral obligations to uphold international law,” she added.
Hernandez is expected to visit Israel and open the new mission in the coming days.
Ashrawi also condemned the tiny Pacific Ocean island state of Nauru, which recently recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. On the other hand, Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germany continues to believe a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians is the only way for both peoples “to live in peace and security.”
Merkel stressed her support for a two-state solution ahead of talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Chancellery in Berlin.
“We appreciate Chancellor Merkel’s efforts to create multilateral cooperation aside from unilateral solutions to create stability and peace in the world,” Abbas said.
He stressed the importance of Germany’s role in the Middle East and thanked the country for its financial support for Palestinians’ health services, education and the strengthening of civil society.
Germany is one of the biggest donors to the Palestinians having given them some 110 million euros ($121.8 million) in 2018.
Meanwhile, Gaza’s rulers Hamas said two overnight suicide bombings killed three Palestinian police officers in the strip, placing the Palestinian enclave in a state of alert.
Interior ministry spokesman Iyad al-Bozm said in an evening statement that they had identified the two bombers who blew themselves up at two police checkpoints in Gaza City.
He did not name them but said security forces “continue to investigate who is behind them.”
Witnesses told reporters that both bombings were carried out by assailants on motorbikes.
A source familiar with the investigation said a Salafist movement in Gaza that sympathises with the Daesh group was suspected.
The interior ministry said two of the police officers were 32 and the third was 45.
Hamas’s military wing hailed them as members.
New police checkpoints were set up in Gaza City as authorities investigated the attacks.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniya sought to calm fears of unrest in the enclave of two million people.
“We assure our people that whatever these explosions are, they will be brought under control as with every previous event, and will not be able to undermine the stability and steadfastness of our people,” he said in a statement. Hundreds gathered for funerals for the three police officers.