Guatemala follows U.S. by opening Jerusalem embassy

Guatemala follows U.S. by opening Jerusalem embassy

Guatemala has opened its new embassy in Jerusalem, becoming the second country to do so after the United States, as worldwide condemnation continued over the killing of dozens of Palestinian protesters by Israeli forces.

Netanyahu hailed the opening of Guatemala's embassy in Jerusalem as "the beginning of something extraordinary" in the relationship between the two countries.

The event marks the day when Israel was created in the midst of a violent campaign that led to the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut a blue-and-white ribbon as the official opening of the embassy.

Netanyahu noted that Guatemala was the second country behind the United States to recognize Israel's independence after the partition vote in the United Nations.

Before the ceremony, Netanyahu and Morales held a private meeting. The latter is a major arms supplier to the Central American nation.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the hottest controversies between Israel, which says the city is its capital, and the Palestinians, who want the eastern part of the city as their capital in any future state.

All embassies to Israel were situated in the commercial capital Tel Aviv, before the USA and Guatemalan embassy moves. Besides Guatemala, Paraguay said it would also relocate its embassy to Jerusalem and Romania, the Czech Republic and Honduras have said they are considering doing the same. Israel considers Jerusalem its undivided capital, but almost all countries have opted to maintain embassies in Tel Aviv because of the holy city's contested status.

The Security Council met in an emergency session on Tuesday to discuss developments in the Gaza Strip.

Israel has been buoyed by the new Jerusalem missions, which have infuriated the Palestinians.

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