Guatemala says it is moving embassy in Israel to Jerusalem
By The Associated Press Supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami take part in an anti-American rally to condemn U.S. President Donald Trump for declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Friday, Dec. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
GUATEMALA CITY — 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 overwhelmingly 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.
No other country has their embassy for Israel in Jerusalem, though the Czech Republic has said it is considering such a move.
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. Though Trump said he was merely recognizing reality and not prejudging negotiations on the future borders of the city, Palestinians saw the move as siding with Israel on […]