Guatemala Opens Embassy in Jerusalem

Guatemala Opens Israel Embassy In Jerusalem After U.S

Guatemala Follows US, Opens Embassy in Jerusalem

Guatemala has opened its embassy in Jerusalem, following in the footsteps of the United States, which inaugurated its embassy in the city two days prior, in a move that has triggered worldwide condemnation.

President of Guatemala Jimmy Morales (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) give a joint press conference after signing bilateral agreements at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on November 29, 2016.

Guatemala, the second country to recognise Israel as a state in 1948, has had a long history of military cooperation with Israel.

Morales said Guatemala was sending a message of "love, peace and fraternity" to Israel amid praise from Netanyahu.

President Donald Trump announced his decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the American embassy there, triggering a joyous reaction from Netanyahu's government.

Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the global community.

Previously Guatemala's embassy was in Herzliya, just north of Tel Aviv like that of Paraguay, so far the only other mission with immediate plans to move to Jerusalem.

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The US embassy move on Monday was accompanied by mass protests and clashes along the Gaza border that saw Israeli forces kill some 60 Palestinians.

The Israeli military, which has come under global criticism for firing on unarmed protesters, said Hamas militants tried to carry out bombing and shooting attacks under the cover of the protests and released video of protesters ripping away parts of the barbed-wire border fence. While other countries, including Honduras and the Czech Republic, have expressed interest in moving their embassies to Jerusalem, it remains unclear whether they will do so. Turkey expelled Israel's ambassador. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel did everything it could to prevent civilian casualties but that Gaza's Hamas rulers were to blame for using them as human shields. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has always been a fierce critic of Israel and dramatically ratcheted up his rhetoric this week over Gaza and the USA embassy move.

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

Israel was criticised internationally for killing unarmed Palestinians.

All embassies to Israel were situated in the commercial capital Tel Aviv, before the USA and Guatemalan embassy moves.

"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 global resolutions". According to health officials, at least 63 Palestinians were killed along the Gaza Strip in the demonstrations Monday. "My next trip through Latin America goes through Guatemala", Netanyahu added, going on to state that Israel and Guatemala share values, and saying that the concepts of personal liberty and the rule of law were born in Jerusalem.

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