(photo credit: REUTERS/Ali Jarekji)
Showing that it is taking the vote on Palestinian statehood recognition at the
UN in September quite seriously, Israel decided Thursday to keep its envoy to
Honduras in Jerusalem for consultations to protest “deep disappointment” at
Honduras’s recently announced decision to vote with the Palestinians at the
RELATED:J'lem protests Honduran support for PA statehood bid
Recalling an ambassador for consultations, or in this case keeping
the ambassador here for a number of extra days, is one of the measures in the
country’s diplomatic arsenal used from time to time to demonstrate
Another such measure is to summon the ambassador of a state
to the Foreign Ministry to register a formal protest.
That step was taken
Sunday, when deputy director-general for Latin America, Dorit Shavit, called
Honduran envoy Jose Isaias Barahona Herrera to the Foreign Ministry to express
Israel’s “surprise” and “disappointment,” and to ask for
This move followed a statement Honduran President Porfirio
Lobo placed on his presidential website saying that Honduras would support the
Palestinian bid at the UN.
Thursday’s decision to keep Israel’s
ambassador Eliyahu Lopez in the country for consultations was taken even as the
Honduran defense minister and the head of the country’s armed forces are in the
country for a visit. The two countries have close military ties, with Israel in
the past having provided the Honduran military with training and sophisticated
Diplomatic officials acknowledged that keeping Lopez back for
consultations – he is currently in the country on a “work visit” – is designed
to show both Honduras and other countries perhaps considering similar moves that
Israel was “very serious” about this matter, and not treating it as “just
another” UN vote.
Lopez, based in Guatemala, is a non-resident ambassador
The diplomatic officials would not say whether Israel would
take similar diplomatic steps against other countries intending to vote for the
PA, or what further diplomatic sanctions Israel might use against
“This is a clear message, through acceptable diplomatic
channels, that we were surprised by Honduras,” one official said, adding that
Israel has very friendly relations with Honduras and would have expected to be
consulted by Lobo before he made such a decision.
No reaction to the
moves was forthcoming Thursday from the Honduran Embassy in Tel
Honduras’s intention to vote for Palestinian statehood recognition
at the UN places it alongside Nicaragua and Costa Rica, which have also said
they would support the move.
The other Central American countries –
Guatemala, Belize, Panama and El Salvador – have not given an indication they
intended to follow in Honduras’s footsteps. Israel is also exerting a great deal
of effort to keep Mexico, a country with considerable influence in Latin
America, from voting for the motion in the UN.
All the South American
countries, with the exception of Colombia, have already recognized a Palestinian
state, although diplomatic officials said that did not necessarily mean that
they would automatically vote for recognition at the UN.