Guatemala Follows US, Opens Embassy in Jerusalem

While other countries, including Honduras and the Czech Republic, have expressed interest in moving their embassies to Jerusalem, it remains unclear whether they will do so.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut a blue-and-white ribbon as the official opening of the embassy.

In his remarks, Netanyahu praised Morales and highlighted Guatemala and Israel's long history of close bilateral relations between the two countries.

The inauguration of the Guatemalan embassy, which was attended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, also comes amid outrage over the Israeli army's killing of 62 Palestinians protesting in the Gaza Strip on Monday.

Following in the footsteps of the United States, Guatemala opened its embassy in Jerusalem Wednesday.

The opening comes almost 30-years after the UN ordered Guatemala and 13 other nations to relocate their embassies from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. You were always among the first. "You are the second country to recognize Israel, but you had a very important role in this". In the ceremony which was held on Wednesday, Morales said that Guatemala was bringing a message of "love, peace and fraternity" to Israel. In December The US announced to transfer its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Israel considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

On Tuesday, the Palestinians marked the 70th anniversary of the Nakba Day, or "the Day of Catastrophe", to demand their rights of return to homes occupied by Israel in the 1948 war. Turkey expelled Israel's ambassador.

The US embassy move on Monday was accompanied by mass protests and clashes along the Gaza border that saw Israeli forces kill some 60 Palestinians. The Gaza protesters hurled firebombs and stones towards Israeli troops across the border.

"The Guatemalan government has chosen to stand on the wrong side of history, to side with violations of worldwide law and human rights, and to take a hostile step against the Palestinian people and the Arab world", Saeb Erekat, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said Wednesday. It was considered as the bloodiest day of cross-border firing since a 2014 war between Israel and Hamas.

The opening of the USA embassy in Jerusalem on Monday triggered deadly clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces in Gaza and the West Bank that left 61 dead and over 2,000 others wounded.

"We are not surprised that a president that has objected to United Nations investigations into corruption and abuses of power has chose to further violate global resolutions". "My next trip through Latin America goes through Guatemala", Netanyahu added, going on to state that Israel and Guatemala share values, and saying that the concepts of personal liberty and the rule of law were born in Jerusalem.

Vanessa Coleman

Comments