Wat een helden in Guatemala.quote:Guatemala opened its embassy in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning, two days after the US moved its mission to the capital.
The Central American country’s president, Jimmy Morales, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut a blue-and-white ribbon, and later placed pieces of the ribbon in the pockets of their suit jackets.
“It is not a coincidence that Guatemala is opening its embassy in Jerusalem two days after the US. You are always among the first,” Netanyahu said, recalling that Guatemala was the second nations, after the US, that recognized the State of Israel in May 1948.
Netanyahu mentioned that there is a Guatemala Street, named in honor of the country’s former ambassador to the UN Jorge Garcia Granados.
Seventy-one years ago, Granados played a crucial role in convincing Latin American countries to vote in favor of General Assembly Resolution 181, which called for the partition of Mandatory Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state.
“We remember our friends, and Guatemala is our friend — then and now,” Netanyahu said.
“We share so many goals and values even though were are so far away,” he added, vowing to advance the bilateral relationship in “practical ways.”
At the end of his brief speech, Netanyahu promised that his next trip to Latin America would start in Guatemala, though he did not announce concrete travel plans.
The ceremony, at Guatemala’s small embassy in Jerusalem’s Malha Technological Park, was a much humbler affair than Monday’s dedication of the US embassy. It started with a singer rendering all eight stanzas of Guatemala’s national anthem, followed by the guests’ signing Hatikva.
“Today is a historic day,” Guatemalan Ambassador Sara Solís Castañeda said, noting that her country was the first in Latin American to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“It was the first country in the world to open an embassy in Jerusalem in 1956,” she noted.
The embassy was closed in 1980, after Israel passed a law declaring that a “complete and united” Jerusalem was Israel’s capital, and the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution calling on member states to withdraw their diplomatic missions from the city.
Foreign Ministry Sandra Jovel, who also travelled 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.”
The last speaker was President Morales, who described Israel-Guatemala ties as a “love between brothers.”
He, too, recalled the country’s fruitful bilateral cooperation, vowing to take concrete steps to strengthen them.
“Guatemala and Israel — united forever,” he declared.
Later on Wednesday, Netanyahu is set to hold an official meeting with Morales and Jovel at his office later on Wednesday afternoon and will host the Guatemalan president and his wife for dinner, according to the prime minister’s schedule.
But last December, US President Donald Trump bucked decades of US foreign policy by formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and setting in motion plans to move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv.
The US embassy was officially opened in Jerusalem on Monday in an event attended by a large high-level American delegation, including Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, and Israeli leaders.