On Sunday, Guatemala’s President announced plans to move its embassy to Jerusalem.
Guatemala, along with 12 other countries, had their embassies in Jerusalem until 1980, when they moved them to Tel Aviv after Israel annexed East Jerusalem, in a move not recognised internationally. All other countries still have their embassies in Tel Aviv.
Guatemala and Israel have a long history of political, economic and military ties.
Guatemala is the first country after the U.S. to announce this decision.
The facile answer to “Why Guatemala?” is, of course,
The Central American country is also a major recipient of US aid – something which Donald Trump threatened to cut to states that voted in favour of the UN resolution.
But Raphael Ahren looked into historical reasons:
Guatemala played a key role in the Jewish state’s creation and has enjoyed Israeli security assistance ever since. It doesn’t hurt that its leader is deeply religious.
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There are several reasons for Guatemala’s dramatic step. The country’s well-established historic friendship with Israel and ongoing deep security and trade ties are one key part of the story. The personal character of the country’s current leader is the other.
Seventy years ago, Guatemala’s ambassador to the UN, Dr. Jorge Garcia Granados, a member of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, 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.
. . .
Guatemala was one of the first countries to recognize the nascent State of Israel in 1948, and the friendship has remained strong ever since.
Ahren lists intelligence teams, security and communications specialists and military training, along with civilian technology – including agriculture – and tourism among the ties between the two countries.
Guatemala’s announcement beat them to it.
Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog