AIPAC: Guatemalan President Announces He'll Move Embassy to Jerusalem in May

Randolph Lopez
March 6, 2018

"This decision strongly evidences Guatemala's continued support of Israel, and we are sure that many other countries will follow in our steps". "His courageous decision has encouraged us to do what is right", President Jimmy Morales said at a Washington conference on Sunday.

"I would like to thank President [Donald] Trump for leading the way".

Morales met in Washington in early February with Donald Trump, who at the time also expressed gratitude for his support on the embassy move.

Guatemala will relocate its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem this May, two days after the United States shifts its mission, the Latin American country's president announced.

Prior to 1980, Guatemala and a dozen other countries maintained an embassy in Jerusalem.

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Guatemala was one of nine nations that sided with the United States in a U.N. vote condemning the decision. Over 50 Palestinians have been killed in the three months since that announcment, majority unarmed civilians killed by Israeli soldiers while participating in non-violent protests in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Of his own decision, Morales said, "It is important to be among the first, but it is more important to do it right". The protests intensified when he tried to block the investigations at all costs and declared the head of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, Ivan Velazquez, persona non grata.

Trump's decision in December to transfer the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem has drawn widespread condemnation, with critics saying it damages hopes for a negotiated Middle East peace.

Spokesman Santiago Palomo told AFP on Saturday that the high court's five magistrates turned down a request from lawyer Marco Vinicio Mejia, who argued in a petition filed in January that the embassy move was contrary to worldwide law.

After the United Nations vote in December, Morales stated: "Guatemala is historically pro-Israeli".

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