Published: Mon, December 25, 2017
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Israel PM says Guatemala embassy move 'just the start'

Israel PM says Guatemala embassy move 'just the start'

Guatemala is to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, following US President Donald Trump's controversial decision on the holy city.

Two Palestinians were killed in renewed clashes with Israeli forces, Gaza's Health Ministry said Friday, as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged France and Europe to play a stronger role in peace efforts amid continued fallout over President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Israel called Guatemala's vote "courageous".

"I'm very proud to be the prime minister of Israel, a country that says: "Merry Christmas" - first to its Christian citizens and to our Christian friends around the world", he said.

According to a breakdown of how countries in the United Nations voted regarding Jerusalem on December 21, Israel is increasingly backed by Central American states, the Caribbean islands, Africa and Asia, whereas it is quickly losing the support of European states, as compared with the previous vote in 2012, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose foreign policy has lately focused on boosting diplomatic ties with Africa, Latin America and Asia, told CNN over the weekend that it may "take about 10 years before the absurd automatic majority against Israel may change".

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"Other countries will recognise Jerusalem and announce the relocation of their embassies".

"We talked about the excellent relations we have had since Guatemala supported the creation of the State of Israel".

Morales, like Trump, was a television entertainer with no real political experience before becoming president of Guatemala in 2016.

Of all the issues at the heart of the enduring conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, none is as sensitive as the status of Jerusalem.

Only eight countries stood with the United States in voting against the resolution held in the UN General Assembly, among them Guatemala and Honduras. 128 countries including India had voted in favour of the controversial move.

Israel seized the eastern part of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it in a move not recognised by the global community. Thirty-five nations abstained and 21 stayed away from the vote. Many governments have long said that the fate of Jerusalem must be resolved through negotiations.

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