Guatemala is in the process of moving its embassy in Isreal from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The furniture and equipment are being moved and contractors are working to prepare the new office with fresh paint.
“I was moved to see the flag of Guatemala waving in Jerusalem in advance of the opening of the Guatemalan embassy later this month,” tweeted Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Dear friends, welcome back to our eternal capital!”
The embassy’s team members have also already made the transition.
“Meyer, one of two Guatemalan diplomats stationed in Israel, has already moved to a new apartment in the capital’s Nahlaot neighborhood. The ambassador, Sara Solís Castañeda, is expected to commute to Jerusalem from her Herzliya residence until she finds a new home in the capital,” writes The Times of Israel.
“#Guatemala’s flag flies high in #Jerusalem, near the site of the new Guatemalan Embassy, which is being opened in its new location in Israel’s capital. Bienvenidos a Jerusalén!” Tweeted Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA.) on Tuesday.
Netanyahu has also promised that the first ten countries to relocate their embassies will get “preferential treatment.”
“The Jerusalem Municipality provided assistance and guidance as requested by the Guatemalan foreign mission throughout the entire process, which has been smooth and efficient,” said a spokesperson for the Jerusalem municipality to The Times of Israel. “The Municipality is ready and willing to assist any country that chooses to stand on the side of truth and relocate their embassy to our eternal capital, Jerusalem.”
Guatemala’s new embassy will be officially opening on May 16, two days after the U.S. embassy will open. The U.S. embassy will be temporarily located in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood until the government finds a permanent location.
“I would like to thank [US] President Trump for leading the way. His courageous decision has encouraged us to do what is right,” said Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales in March.
President Donald Trump announced in December of last year that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and that the U.S. embassy would no longer be in Tel Aviv.
“I strongly believe this is going to move the ball forward for the peace process,” said Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations to CNN’s State of the Union.
“Jerusalem, the eastern part of which was annexed from Jordan by Israel in 1967, has long been a sticking point in peace negotiations in the region — one on which past U.S. administrations avoided taking sides. Palestinians would almost certainly seek to establish East Jerusalem as their capital as part of any two-state peace agreement,” writes Politico. “Haley argued that by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a move long sought by the Israeli government, the U.S. had removed from the table a contentious point, allowing Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations to press forward on other issues.”
The Arab League called for Trump to reverse the decision, arguing that the move is a “dangerous violation of international law” and the UN General Assembly has criticized the decision.
But in a recent poll by the Tel Aviv University and the Israel Democracy Institute, 63% of Israelis surveyed believe that the U.S. embassy move will benefit Israel.
Trump wasn’t supposed to attend the opening of the U.S. embassy and his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner were reported to be sent in his place, however, in January Trump said he is still considering making the visit.
“Jerusalem has been promised for many years. [Past presidents] have all made campaign promises, but never had the courage to do it. So I might go,” said Trump.
Author’s note: Guatemala promised to do it and now they have. The U.S. will officially open its new embassy location in less than two weeks. Trump has kept another campaign promise and the world hasn’t blown up like the critics have predicted.