Guatemala, in nod to Trump, moving embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales is seen with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2016

Guatemala’s Highest Court Throws Out Bid to Block Jerusalem Embassy Move AFP by Deborah Danan4 Mar 20180 4 Mar 2018 4 Mar 2018

Trump reversed decades of USA policy, which avoided declaring Jerusalem the Israeli capital in the absence of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, by announcing the relocation of the country's embassy in Israel on December 7.

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.

Last month, Trump also thanked Morales for his support on the Jerusalem recognition.

Donald Trump's announcement in December that he would be moving the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was met by widespread protests.

Palestinians have been angered by Trump's decision, which went against the vocal opposition of Arab leaders as it seeks to change the status of the contested city. The embassies of most countries are located in Tel Aviv.

Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital has triggered widespread criticism within the global community for undermining the peace process aimed at finding a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Morales told the Zionist lobbying group, "As a sovereign decision, we recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel".

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 U.S. aid.

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. He said Israel and Guatemala share common goals, from fighting terrorism to combating the spread of drugs and protecting human rights. Ríos Montt was convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity in 2013 for his part in a lengthy civil war that spanned five decades and left 200,000 indigenous Mayans dead. "We have a Christian way of thinking that, as well as the politics of it, has us believing that Israel is our ally and we must support it".

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