Palestinians, Jordan rail against Guatemala’s Jerusalem embassy announcement

PA’s foreign minister scorns Guatemala’s “shameless act of lawlessness” while his Jordanian counterpart lambasts “absurd provocation.”     

By: Jack Ben-David, World Israel News

The Palestinian Authority (PA) lashed out at Guatemala Monday evening for its “shameful” announcement that it would emulate US President Donald Trump’s decision to move its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Riyad al-Malki, minister of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs, denounced Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, who announced the decision on Christmas Eve, for his “insistence on dragging his country to the wrong side of history by committing a flagrant violation of international law as well as relevant United Nations Security Council and General Assembly resolutions,” according to the Palestinian Wafa news agency.

Morales announced in a Facebook post Sunday night his country will be transferring the embassy, following a conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Dear citizens of Guatemala, I have spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today. We spoke about the excellent relations our countries have enjoyed since we supported Israel’s creation. One of the important topics broached were transferring the Guatemalan Embassy to Jerusalem, and I hereby announce I have instructed the embassy’s staff to plan such a move. May God bless you,” Morales wrote.

“This announcement is also a brazen act of disrespect and disregard to the collective positions of international alliances and groups Guatemala is part of, including the Non-aligned Movement,” said a press statement issued by the Palestinian Foreign Ministry.

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The agency also reported that Al-Malki stated that Morales’ “shameless act of lawlessness” was made in disregard of the church leaders in Jerusalem, “who unanimously and unequivocally declared their opposition to challenging the status of Jerusalem or moving embassies to it.”

Underscoring the point, Al-Malki referenced the Christmas speech delivered by Pope Francis on Christmas Day, calling for a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians based on a “two-state solution.”

“Let us pray that the will to resume dialogue may prevail between the parties and that a negotiated solution can finally be reached, one that would allow the peaceful coexistence of two states within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders,” Pope Francis said from the Vatican balcony to thousands of listeners.

Palestinians allude to ‘original Christians in Palestine’

Al-Malki further accused Morales of failing to express solidarity with “the original Christians in Palestine” and instead electing “to act against their rights and status in the Holy Land on Christmas Eve. It is unconscionable.”

Concluding that Morales’ decision was an affront to “inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and international law,” the foreign minister vowed to work with the international community to deal with the Guatemalan decision.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi also joined the chorus of criticism voiced by Palestinian officials, taking to social media to make his country’s voice heard.

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“We reject #Guatemala decision to move embassy to #Jerusalem & condemn it as absurd provocation, violation of international law. Occupied Jerusalem is capital of #Palestinian state which must be established on June 4 1967 lines on basis of 2-state solution as only path to peace,” Safadi wrote on Twitter.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, by contrast, sung Morales’ praises for his decision. “God bless you, my friend, President Jimmy Morales, God bless both our countries, Israel and Guatemala,” Netanyahu said in English during a Likud party faction on Monday.