Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Guatemala opens embassy in Jerusalem after controversial USA move

Guatemala opens embassy in Jerusalem after controversial USA move

On May 14, the US today opened its embassy in Jerusalem under a controversial move by President Donald Trump that has infuriated the Palestinians, who clashed with Israeli soldiers who shot dead at least 41 of them in Gaza, in the deadliest escalation of violence since 2014."Today we open the United States embassy in Jerusalem, Israel", US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said at the beginning of the inaugural ceremony, attended by a USA delegation from Washington and Israeli leaders.

"We remember our friends, and Guatemala is our friend - then and now", Netanyahu said.

The embassy is located in Jerusalem's Malha Technological Park. It started with a singer rendering all eight stanzas of Guatemala's national anthem, followed by the guests signing Hatikva.

The Israeli premier said he would visit Guatemala on his next visit to Latin America.

"It was the first country in the world to open an embassy in Jerusalem in 1956", she noted.

Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel, who also traveled to Israel for the embassy inauguration, spoke of values such as democracy and the fight against corruption that the two countries share, and hailed Guatemala's "important Jewish community".

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Netanyahu said that this move goes "hand in hand" with opening two days ago of the U.S. embassy in the capital.

"I thank President Jimmy Morales Cabrera of Guatemala for his courageous decision and am honored that we will be opening the embassy in the capital of Israel tomorrow".

He, too, recalled the country's fruitful bilateral cooperation, vowing to take concrete steps to strengthen them.

Some 150 people crammed into the foyer of the embassy, including US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Sheldon Adelson, Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat and numerous Guatemalan ministers and members of the legislature who came for the event.

In addition to the politicians from the Senate and House of Representatives, a presidential delegation was led by Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner and the president's daughter Ivanka Trump, who is a special advisor.

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