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Arab League Condemns Guatemala's Decision to Move Embassy to Jerusalem

Arab League Condemns Guatemala's Decision to Move Embassy to Jerusalem

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales made the announcement during a speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual policy conference in Washington on March 4.

President Morales describes Guatemala's long support for Israel and announces his decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May to coincide with Israel's 70th anniversary celebration.

Morales noted that Guatemala was among the first nations to recognize Israel after it declared independence in 1948, and was the first country to establish an embassy in Jerusalem in 1959, before subsequently moving it.

Morales, a former television comedian with an important base of conservative Christian support in the Central American country, became embroiled earlier this year in a dispute with the United Nations when a UN-backed anti-corruption body in Guatemala tried to impeach him. "I would like to thank President Trump for leading the way", he said.

The decision in December by President Donald Trump to transfer the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to the disputed city of Jerusalem has drawn widespread condemnation, with critics saying it damages hopes for a negotiated Middle East peace.

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In a statement on the official Palestinian news agency WAFA, it called on Arab and Islamic nations "to take a firm stand against this move, which violates worldwide law". Vice President Mike Pence will address the conference on Monday night, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will speak on Tuesday morning. Earlier this month, the USA said the move would take place to coincide with Israel's 70th birthday.

In a December 2017 the U.N. General Assembly voted on a resolution condemning Trump's decision.

Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

"Thank you for everything you're doing, for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital".

The Israeli government considers the entire city to be its undivided capital, although the worldwide consensus is that the city's status should be decided through negotiations and not unilateral moves.