Guatemala to Celebrate Israel's 70th Birthday with Jerusalem Embassy Move

President Jimmy Morales wants to move Guatemala's embassy in Israel from its current location in Herzlia near Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

"I would like to thank President Trump for leading the way", he said.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales made the announcement during a speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual policy conference in Washington on March 4.

Guatemala was one of only a handful of countries that backed Trump's December decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

In a statement on the official Palestinian news agency WAFA, it called on Arab and Islamic nations "to take a firm stand against this move, which violates global law". Trump argued it was "nothing more, or less, than a recognition of reality".

Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern sector as the capital of their future state. Over 50 Palestinians have been killed in the three months since that announcment, a lot of them unarmed civilians killed by Israeli soldiers while participating in non-violent protests in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

Trump's threat to cut off all financial assistance to countries that voted against the resolution may have influenced the Guatemalan government which relies heavily on USA aid.

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

The central American country announced on Sunday (4 March) that the move will take place in May, just two days after the United States relocates its embassy to Jerusalem.

"As a sovereign decision, we recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel", Morales said.

Although Morales avoided impeachment, he failed in an attempt to expel the head of the body, the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, after criticism from the United Nations, the United States and the European Union.

As a Counselor of the Municipality of Jerusalem, I'm so delighted to a member of the city counsel that in our time, in a few months, the embassy from Tel Aviv will move right here, in the place behind me, already built.

Guatemalan lawyer Marco Vinicio Mejia challenged the Guatemalan President's decision in court, arguing that moving the embassy would be a violation of global law.

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