Guatemala’s president has announced that he will move his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May, two days after the United States will do so.
Speaking on Monday at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee ((AIPAC) conference in Washington D.C., Jimmy Morales said that the embassy move “strongly evidences Guatemala’s continued support and solidarity with the people of Israel”.
“In May of this year, we will celebrate Israel’s 70th anniversary, and under my instructions, two days after the United States moves its embassy, Guatemala will return and permanently move its embassy to Jerusalem,” Morales said.
On May 15, Palestinians will mark Nakba Day, the annual commemoration of the displacement that preceded and followed the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948.
The move of the embassy will take place on May 16, with the Guatemalan president adding that he is “sure many other countries will follow in our steps”.
Morales also thanked US President Donald Trump for “leading the way … His courageous decision has encouraged us to do what is right,” he said.
Trump’s administration announced their recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last December, breaking with decades of official US policy.
The decision led to the outbreak of protests throughout the occupied Palestinian territories, resulting in the
deaths of at least 16 Palestinians by the Israeli army during the same month.
The move also drew worldwide condemnation as The international community does not recognise Israel’s annexation of occupied East Jerusalem, and 128 countries backed a non-binding UN General Assembly
resolution that called for the US to rescind its move.
Guatemala was only one of the handful of countries to vote against the resolution, after the US had threatened to withdraw financial aid to countries who voted otherwise.
It was also the first country to back Trump’s decision on Jerusalem.