Guatemala Opens Embassy in Jerusalem Amid Criticism From Palestinians, International Community

Guatemala Opens Embassy in Jerusalem Amid Criticism From Palestinians, International Community

Guatemala Opens Embassy in Jerusalem Amid Criticism From Palestinians, International Community

At 10.30 am this morning, Guatemala officially opened its new, unfinished embassy in Jerusalem.

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 is now the second country to move its Israeli embassy back to Jerusalem. Recently a law was passed by the Guatemalan Congress marking May 14 as "Israel-Guatemala Friendship Day". "You were the second country to recognize Israel", the prime minister said, referring to Israel's founding in 1948.

The embassy move aggravated the conflict between Palestinians and Israel. Paraguay said it will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the end of May.

Israel has faced worldwide criticism over its use of live fire.

In 1980, Guatemala pulled its diplomats from Jerusalem after the Knesset announced the controversial Jerusalem Law, which triumphantly declared the city, "complete and united", as Israel's capital.

"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. These countries also demanded an global investigation.

The US, however, blocked a statement drafted by Kuwait calling for an independent investigation into the killings of Palestinian protesters in Gaza and calling on countries not to station their diplomatic missions in Jerusalem. "Make no mistake, such an insult against the Palestinian people reflects the insult against millions of Central Americans that have struggled for the values of justice and peace", the Palestinian Authority's Chief Negotiator added. "It's not a coincidence that Guatemala is opening its embassy in Jerusalem right among the first". The Palestinians always want east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

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.

The Arab League and the French government condemned the U.S. embassy move as illegal and in contravention of UN Security Council resolutions surrounding the conflict.

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