Monday, December 25, 2017
Guatemala Supports The ME's Only Democracy, Moving Embassy to Jerusalem
Guatemala's president announced on Christmas Eve that the Central American country will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, becoming the first nation to follow the lead of U.S. President Donald Trump in ordering the change.
Guatemala was one of nine nations that voted with the United States and Israel on Thursday when the U.N. General Assembly adopted a non-binding resolution denouncing Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Trump didn't set any timetable for moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and neither did Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales.
In a post on his official Facebook account Sunday, Morales said that after talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he decided to instruct Guatemala's foreign ministry to move the embassy.
Guatemala and Israel have long had close ties, especially in security matters and Israeli arms sales to Guatemala.
The Czech Republic has said it is considering such a move to Jerusalem.
In a statement, Netanyahu praised Morales' decision and said that he was waiting in Jerusalem.
"God bless you, my friend, President Morales," he said. "I told you recently that there will be other countries that would recognize Jerusalem and announce the transfer of their embassies to it. Well here is the second country and I reiterate: It is only the beginning and it is important."
Trump upended decades of U.S. policy with his Dec. 6 announcement that he was recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Trump said he was merely recognizing reality .
Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, which it is, historically.
Trump's announcement has set off weeks of clashes between Palestinian Terror supporters and Israeli security forces that have left 12 Palestinians dead.
Netanyahu has made great efforts to reach out to Latin America in recent years as part of a campaign to counter longstanding support for the Palestinians at the United Nations.
The resolution passed by the General Assembly declared the U.S. action on Jerusalem "null and void." The 128-9 vote was a defeat for arabs, far short of the total they had predicted. Thirty-five nations abstained and 21 stayed away from the vote.
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS GUATEMALA CITY