Guatemala Becomes Second Country To Move Israeli Embassy To Jerusalem


The Palestinian Authority has recalled its envoys to Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria after their ambassadors attended an Israeli reception marking the USA embassy's move to Jerusalem, it said on Wednesday.

Monday's ceremony to inaugurate the USA embassy was marred by violent clashes along the Gaza border that left 52 Palestinians dead from Israeli fire and thousands wounded, in the conflict's bloodiest day in years.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said it was fitting since Guatemala also followed the USA to be the second country to recognise Israel 70 years ago.

Netanyahu hailed the opening of Guatemala's embassy in Jerusalem as "the beginning of something extraordinary" in the relationship between the two countries. You were always among the first. "You were the second country to recognise Israel", Netanyahu said at the ceremony, referring to its founding in 1948.

Guatemala previously had an embassy in Jerusalem, the first country in the world to open an embassy in the city in 1956.

Trump's move reversed decades of USA policy, upsetting the Arab world and Western allies. Mohammad Momani, the Minister of State for Media Affairs, called the move "an irresponsible step" and that all "peace-loving countries should support the two-state solution based on the global legitimacy, which calls on the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on pre-June 4, 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital". It sees the entire city as its capital.

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"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.

Since Monday, Israeli occupation forces have killed 65 Palestinians who were protesting against the embassy move in the besieged Gaza Strip and injured thousands more in Gaza and the occupied West Bank. It was the bloodiest day in the Hamas-run enclave since a 2014 war with Israel.

The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and view the relocation of the embassy as a one-sided move that invalidates the USA as a peace broker in the region. Kilic arrived back in Ankara on Wednesday afternoon, state media said.

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

Guatemala is one of only a handful of nations that supported U.S. President Donald Trump's decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.