April 25, 2018

Guatemala's Highest Court Throws Out Bid to Block Jerusalem Embassy Move

06 March 2018, 01:45 | Marta Robbins

Thank You: Guatemala's Jimmy Morales Invited to Pro-Israel AIPAC Conference

PM meets Morales in US thanks him for Jerusalem recognition

Morales said that Guatemala will move its embassy to Jerusalem two days after the United States makes the move, coinciding with the 70 anniversary of Israel's independence.

But the embassy was moved to Tel Aviv as an worldwide outcry grew against Israeli claims on eastern Jerusalem.

Guatemala was one of a handful of countries that backed U.S. President Donald Trump's December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, something most other countries decline to do as part of the city was seized during a 1967 war and is considered occupied territory.

Trump reversed decades of USA policy, which avoided declaring Jerusalem the Israeli capital in the absence of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, by announcing the relocation of the country's embassy in Israel on December 7. "I hope soon you will move your embassy to Jerusalem; we hope", Netanyahu told Morales in Washington.

"As a sovereign decision, we recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel", Morales said.

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Morales met in Washington in early February with Donald Trump, who at the time also expressed gratitude for his support on the embassy move. Over 50 Palestinians have been killed in the three months since that announcment, majority unarmed civilians killed by Israeli soldiers while participating in non-violent protests in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Most countries' embassies are located in Tel Aviv.

Santiago Palomo told AFP that the Constitutional Court's five magistrates rejected the petition from lawyer Marco Vinicio Mejia.

Trump's threat to cut off all financial assistance to countries that voted against the resolution may have influenced the Guatemalan government which relies heavily on USA aid. Of his own decision, Morales said, "It is important to be among the first, but it is more important to do it right".

Guatemala was one of the first countries to recognise Israel when it was founded in 1947 and the two countries have enjoyed strong ties since.

After the United Nations vote in December, Morales stated: "Guatemala is historically pro-Israeli".

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