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Photo by: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
Palestinians slam Guatemalan president for visiting east Jerusalem
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
11/12/2013
Erekat calls visit in coordination with the Israeli foreign ministry an "attempt to legitimize Israel’s occupation policies."
 
The Palestinian Authority on Wednesday criticized the recent visit by Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina to east Jerusalem.

PLO Executive Committee member Saeb Erekat expressed “strong dissatisfaction with the response given by the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry regarding complaints made by the State of Palestine on the issue,” according to a statement issued by the PLO.

“We will not accept any attempt to legitimize Israel’s occupation policies, particularly in East Jerusalem,” Erekat was quoted as saying.

“The visit of the president of Guatemala to the occupied Palestinian capital in coordination with the Israeli Foreign Ministry is unacceptable and contradicts Guatemala’s obligations according to the Geneva Conventions, the Rome Statue and the ICJ [International Court of Justice] opinion on the Wall [the West Bank security barrier], as well as Security Council Resolutions 476 and 478, among others.”

Erekat said he was even more worried by the response of the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry, which “attempted to justify the visit” last month.

The Guatemalan Foreign Ministry’s response “supported a narrative far removed from reality and demonstrated severe misconceptions that have little to do with international law,” he said.

Guatemala, Erekat continued, “should know better, especially given the fact that the vast majority of Latin America has a clear position regarding Palestine.”

The PLO official said the Palestinians had made a formal complaint to Guatemala on the matter. “We consider this visit, along with the statement issued by the Foreign Ministry, tantamount to accepting the Israeli annexation of occupied East Jerusalem,” Erekat explained.

“We will take all necessary steps to make it clear that East Jerusalem is a redline for billions of people worldwide.”
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