Guatemalan president Jimmy Morales announces move of Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

Monday, December 25, 2017

Yesterday, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales announced via a Facebook post that his country is to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Guatemala became the first nation to follow the United States in making this decision. Earlier this month, United States president Donald Trump instructed the U.S. State Department to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Morales affirmed Guatemala has long supported Israel: "We spoke of the excellent relations we have had since Guatemala supported the creation of the state of Israel" ((es))Spanish language: ‍Hablamos de las excelentes relaciones que hemos tenido como naciones desde que Guatemala apoyó la creación del Estado de Israel, he wrote in the Facebook post. "One of the most important issues was the return of the Guatemalan Embassy to Jerusalem." ((es))Spanish language: ‍Uno de los temas de mayor relevancia fue el retorno de la Embajada de Guatemala a Jerusalén.

On December 19, the United Nations voted on a resolution urging the U.S. to reconsider its decision. 128 countries voted in favor of treating decisions to change the status of Jerusalem as "null and void." Nine countries voted against the resolution, 35 countries abstained and 21 did not have a voting representative present. Trump threatened to reduce the amount of foreign aid sent to any nation that supported UN's resolution. He said, "They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars and then they vote against us [...] Well, we're watching those votes [...] Let them vote against us. We'll save a lot. We don't care." Guatemala, which receives funding from the U.S., was one of the nine nations to vote against the resolution.

Palestine claims part of the city, East Jerusalem, as its own territory and Israel claims the entire city to be its capital. Israel came to control East Jerusalem as part of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War but its legal sovereignty over it has not been recognized by any other nations.