Guatemala opens its embassy in Jerusalem

  • Guatemala opens its embassy in Jerusalem

Guatemala opens its embassy in Jerusalem

Following in US' footsteps, Guatemala opens its embassy in Jerusalem, despite worldwide condemnation.

Jimmy Morales, the Guatemalan President, arrived in Tel Aviv on Tuesday ahead of today's ceremony to a rapturous welcome; Jerusalem's old city walls were even illuminated with the Guatemalan flag and a message thanking Morales for his support.

Guatemala inaugurated its Israel embassy in Jerusalem on Wednesday, becoming the first country to follow in the footsteps of the United States' deeply controversial move that was accompanied by deadly violence on the Gaza border.

"You were always among the first", he said.

Nearly half a century on, Guatemala's new position can be seen as both a parroting of USA foreign policy and as a chance to strengthen relations with Israel, from which it buys most of its arms.

Meanwhile, Paraguay has also announced relocating its embassy to Jerusalem, whereas Romania, the Czech Republic and Honduras are considering doing the same.

Guatemala, the second country to recognise Israel as a state in 1948, has had a long history of military cooperation with Israel. Recently a law was passed by the Guatemalan Congress marking May 14 as "Israel-Guatemala Friendship Day".

"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", he wrote in a statement.

Jerusalem's status is perhaps the thorniest issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the United States embassy relocation infuriated the Palestinians.

"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 worldwide resolutions". The latter is a major arms supplier to the Central American nation.

The Jordanian government also denounced Guatemala for moving its embassy to Jerusalem. The move infuriated the Palestinians, who claim Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as their capital. The Israeli forces killed almost 60 Palestinians in the clashes along the border this Monday.

Arab League Assistant Secretary-General Ambassador, Hossam Al Zaki, said the Arab League would convene Thursday to "discuss the emergence of a unified Arab stance against the crimes against the Palestinian people, as well as to confront the US decision to transfer its embassy to the city of Jerusalem".