Nauru, world’s ‘least-visited country,’ recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Nauru, world’s ‘least-visited country,’ recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Foreign Minister Katz praises move by tiny Pacific island nation, expresses hope more countries will follow suit

A child plays near the beach in Nauru during the Pacific Islands Forum on the tiny Pacific nation of Nauru Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (Jason Oxenham/Pool Photo via AP)
A child plays near the beach in Nauru during the Pacific Islands Forum on the tiny Pacific nation of Nauru Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (Jason Oxenham/Pool Photo via AP)

The Republic of Nauru, a Pacific island country, has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz commended the island nation for its recognition on Wednesday evening in a tweet that also said, “We will continue to strengthen Jerusalem and to bring about the recognition and opening of diplomatic missions and embassies in our capital.”

Nauru’s mission to the United Nations in New York said in a letter dated August 16 to the Israeli mission: “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.”

With a population of fewer than 12,000, Nauru is the third-smallest country in the world and is said to be the least-visited. Reaching there from Israel takes a minimum of 44 hours, with three stops, Israel’s Channel 12 news reported Thursday, noting that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Avner has visited. If so, he was one of the island’s reported 160 average annual tourists.

Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi lashed out at Nauru on Thursday over it decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“The Palestinian leadership…unequivocally condemns Nauru’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s ‘capital’ and considers it an extension of its shameful voting record at the United Nations on the Question of Palestine,” she said in a statement.

“Such obligations must not be compromised by financial or other considerations. Nauru is violating also its obligations under international law and the UN Charter and must be held accountable for these violations,” the PLO official added.

The president of Honduras will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Friday when he inaugurates a “diplomatic office” in Jerusalem, which he told reporters will be an extension of the Honduran embassy in Tel Aviv.

US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and officially moved the US embassy to the city in May 2018. Guatemala moved its embassy to Jerusalem just two days later. Paraguay also announced plans to move its embassy, but reversed the decision months later after a change in government.

Government officials from several countries, including the Czech Republic, Romania, Lithuania, Australia and Brazil, have expressed interest in moving their embassies to Jerusalem. In March, Hungary opened a diplomatic trade mission in Jerusalem, which is considered a branch of the Hungarian embassy in Tel Aviv.

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