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Nauru recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Palestinians take part in a protest marking the annual Quds Day in Gaza on 23 June 2017 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]
Palestinians take part in a protest marking the annual Quds Day in Gaza on 23 June 2017 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

The Republic of Nauru has recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, following in the footsteps of the US, Guatemala and Honduras.

Nauru – a tiny island located in the Pacific Ocean, northeast of Australia – announced its decision in a letter to Israel’s UN mission in New York, writing that “the Mission of Nauru has the honor to convey the decision of the Government of the Republic of Nauru to formally recognize the City of Jerusalem as the Capital City of the State of Israel”.

Though the letter was dated 16 August, Israel’s Foreign Ministry affirmed the move today, with Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz writing on Twitter: “I welcome Nauru’s important decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Another step that matures and bears fruit, after [US] President [Donald] Trump’s historic recognition of Jerusalem, other countries are taking this important step.”

He continued: “We will continue to strengthen Jerusalem’s political position! We will continue to work to bring more countries to the recognition and opening of delegations in Jerusalem.”

The foreign minister also posted a photo of himself alongside Nauru’s Ambassador to the UN and non-resident Ambassador to Israel, Marlene Moses, and Israel’s Honorary Consul, David Ben Basat.

Nauru follows in the footsteps of a handful of countries which have recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

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Since President Trump announced the US would unilaterally recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital in December 2017, and subsequently moved the US embassy there in May 2018, Paraguay and Guatemala have followed suit.

Though Paraguay initially moved its embassy to Jerusalem, just months later it returned its mission to Tel Aviv, sparking a diplomatic spat with Israel which resulted in the closure of Israel’s embassy in Paraguayan capital Asuncion.

Just yesterday Honduras also announced that it would join its Central American neighbour in recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez will travel to Israel tomorrow to inaugurate a “diplomatic office” in the city, which will act as an extension of Honduras’ Tel Aviv-based embassy.

Other countries have considered recognising Jerusalem and moving their embassy there, including Brazil, Hungary and Moldova. However, the international community has generally opted not to follow President Trump’s controversial move, despite Israel’s announcement in December that it would build a new “embassy complex” which could house nine diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.

READ: Palestinian capital in Jerusalem is ‘aspiration not a right’, US’ Greenblatt says

Israel’s Foreign Ministry has since announced that it will launch a 50 million shekel ($14.2 million) plan to encourage countries to move their embassies to the Holy City. The ministry believes that a number of countries would be willing to move their embassies in exchange for aid or help improving their relations with the US.

The provision of aid has been crucial in the development of Israel-Nauru relations.

In 2017, Israel bought a $72,000 sewage treatment system for Nauru just two weeks before it voted against a UN General Assembly resolution condemning President Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem. Only nine countries voted against the resolution, among them Guatemala and Honduras.

Israel has also provided other forms of developmental assistance for the tiny island, in 2017 offering to bring a delegation to Israel to train with Israel’s aid agency MASHAV. Israel has also provided medical training for specialists from the island.

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IsraelMiddle EastNauruNewsOceaniaPalestineUS
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