Guatemala joins the United States in moving its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem

Netanyahu hailed the opening of Guatemala's embassy in Jerusalem as "the beginning of something extraordinary" in the relationship between the two countries.

This comes two-days after the United States (US) inaugurated its embassy in Jerusalem. The United States opened its Jerusalem embassy in the southern Jerusalem's Arnona neighborhood on Monday.

Jimmy Morales, the Guatemalan President, arrived in Tel Aviv on Tuesday ahead of today's ceremony to a rapturous welcome; Jerusalem's old city walls were even illuminated with the Guatemalan flag and a message thanking Morales for his support. That move caused some tension because both Israel and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital. You were always among the first.

Guatemala, the second country to recognise Israel as a state in 1948, has had a long history of military cooperation with Israel. Paraguay has said it will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the end of May.

Israel has been buoyed by the new Jerusalem missions, which have infuriated the Palestinians.

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Israel regards all of the city, including the eastern sector it annexed after the 1967 conflict, as its capital.

Post the opening of the embassy, violent clashes erupted between Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers at the Gaza Strip, resulting in the killing of 62 agitators.

Palestinian leaders said by relocating the embassy the United States had created incitement and instability in the region and abrogated its role as a peace mediator. Placed during the week that Palestinian marks the 70th anniversary of Nakba, the cataclysmic exodus which followed the expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians from their homes, both openings are an attempt to divert the global community's attention.

No country recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital until December 2017, when Trump declared it as such, breaking with decades of U.S. policy favouring the division of Jerusalem between Israel and a future Palestinian state.

Netanyahu said it was fitting, noting that Guatemala also followed the U.S.to be the second country to recognize Israel 70 years ago.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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