Abbas Adviser: Guatemala’s embassy move announcement 'disappointing'

Majdi al-Khalidi, Abbas's diplomatic affairs adviser, said political and diplomatic measures should be taken to push back against Guatemala's announcement to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem.

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December 25, 2017 11:33
2 minute read.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas greets delegates after addressing the 72nd United Nations

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas greets delegates after addressing the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, US, September 20, 2017. . (photo credit: EDUARDO MUNOZ / REUTERS)

 
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Guatemala’s announcement that it will move its embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is “disappointing”, a senior adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales announced on Sunday in a Facebook post that his country will relocate its embassy to Jerusalem.

Israel praises Guatemala over Jerusalem embassy move, December 25, 2017 (Video: Reuters)“This is a disappointing decision that we must fight by the way of political and diplomatic measures,” Majdi al-Khalidi, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s diplomatic affairs adviser, told The Jerusalem Post.

Khalidi did not specifically state which measures should be taken to push back against the Guatemalan president’s announcement.

Morales’s announcement that Guatemala will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem comes just weeks after US President Donald Trump decided to initiate a process to relocate the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to the holy city. Morales did not say when Guatemala’s embassy in Israel would be moved to Jerusalem.

Khalidi added that the Guatemalan president’s announcement violates a resolution passed by the UN General Assembly last week, which calls on countries “to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem.”
128 countries defy Trump, vote for UN resolution slamming his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, December 21, 2017 (Reuters)

“According to the UN General Assembly’s decision, no country has the right to move its embassy to Jerusalem or recognize the city as Israel’s capital,” Khalidi stated. “All decisions to move embassies to Jerusalem are null and void and illegal.”

Guatemala was one of nine countries to vote against last week’s UN General Assembly resolution on Jerusalem. 128 countries voted in favor of the resolution and 35 abstained.

Guatemala and Israel have long had close ties, which date back to Israel’s establishment in 1948. It was one of a handful of countries which located its embassy in Israel in Jerusalem before 1980.

Israel considers all of Jerusalem its capital, while the Palestinians hope east Jerusalem will be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

According to Palestinian officials, countries that move their embassies to Jerusalem before a final peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians are basically recognizing Israel’s claim to all of Jerusalem.

When Trump announced his plan to relocate the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, he said it would be up to Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate the final status of Jerusalem.

Later on Monday, PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki also rebuked the Guatemalan president for his announcement regarding his country’s embassy in Israel.

“This is a step that embodies the insistence of President Morales to drag his country on to the wrong side of history,” Maliki said in statement published on the official PA news site Wafa.

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