Guatemala to move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem in May
- Author: Tracy Klein Mar 06, 2018,
Mar 06, 2018, 1:49
President Jimmy Morales of Guatemala said his country will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem in May. The move is planned for May 16, two days after the United States plans to move its embassy.
Jerusalem city council member Aryeh King spoke to Arutz Sheva about the significance of President Trump's Jerusalem declaration last December, and what Israel must do at this critical juncture in history.
Morales nevertheless soon followed Trump, making Guatemala the first country to do so.
Nicaragua now becomes the first country other than the U.S.to set a date for the relocation of its embassy to Jerusalem.
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales told a cheering crowd on Sunday that "as a sovereign decision, we recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel".
The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest obstacles to forging a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem as their capital.
The Israeli government considers the entire city to be its undivided capital, although the global consensus is that the city's status should be decided through negotiations and not unilateral moves. "His courageous decision has encouraged us to do what is right", Morales explained.
In 2016, Trump's presence and speech at AIPAC, where he called himself the "true friend of Israel", won support from the pro-Israeli voting population and lobbies in the U.S.
Speaking to The Times of Israel after his address, Morales said he has discussed embassy moves with other nations in Europe and Latin America but would not identify them.
"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", he said. The announcement came just after a Guatemalan judge ruled in Morales' favor following a legal challenge to his decision to follow Trump's lead in moving his country's embassy.