Guatemala’s ‘direct aggression’ enrages Palestinians

The Palestinians reacted in fury to Guatemala’s decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem, threatening to take “practical steps” to fight it.

By: World Israel News Staff

The Palestinian government denounced Guatemala’s decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May, two days after the US moves its own embassy.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington on Sunday that “under my instructions, two days after the United States moves its embassy, Guatemala will return and permanently move its embassy to Jerusalem.”

The US said it will start the process of moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 14, when Israel marks its 70th Independence Day.

“As a sovereign decision, we recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Morales stated.

Responding the next day to Morales’ announcement, the Palestinian cabinet called on “Arab and Islamic nations to take a firm stand against this move,” which the Palestinians claim “violates international law and principles as well as United Nations resolutions.”

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also “strongly” condemned the Guatemalan move.

“This decision completely violates international law and international resolutions, it is considered a direct aggression against the Palestinians and their legitimate rights,” said the ministry in a statement, adding that it believes that “Morales and the extremist religious ideology he represents are backed up by [US President Donald] Trump’s disastrous declaration regarding transferring the American embassy to Occupied Jerusalem.”

The Palestinian foreign ministry called upon the Guatemalan people and their various representatives “to continue exerting pressure to push their government to back down from this unjust decision, which threatens the friendly relations between the Guatemalan and Palestinian people.” It also alleged that the decision “especially harms the image of Guatemala and its relations and interests with the Arab and Islamic worlds.”

The ministry threatened to combat the decision through the local Palestinian community in Guatemala and at the local courts, in addition to “practical steps” that will be taken “in coordination with friendly countries to impose an economic trade boycott on Guatemala and to mobilize the greatest possible pressure to discourage the Guatemalan president from implementing this decision.”

“At the same time, the ministry calls on all countries to affirm their rejection of both the American and the Guatemalan declarations,” the Palestinian statement said.

‘Dangerous and provocative’

PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi condemned Morales’ move as “dangerous and provocative.” She urged the international community, particularly Arab and Islamic states, “to intervene and hold the Israeli occupation and its partners to account for such flagrant violations and provocative actions that fuel the flames in an already volatile situation.”

The Arab League called on Guatemala to overturn its decision. In a statement of condemnation, Assistant Secretary-General Saeed Abu Ali said the move was “illegal.”

Abu Ali urged Guatemala to “refrain from taking any illegal actions that would undermine the status of Jerusalem and make the situation more complicated, which will not serve peace and stability in the region.”

Israel, on its part, warmly welcomed the Guatemalan move.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Washington for the AIPAC conference, met with Morales on Sunday and thanked him “for everything you’re doing, for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”

Morales replied that “it is an honor and it is the right thing to do.”