Guatemala’s Highest Court Throws Out Bid to Block Jerusalem Embassy Move

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales (L) is seen with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) in 2016
AFP

TEL AVIV – Guatemala’s highest court threw out a lawyer’s attempt to stop the country from following President Donald Trump’s lead and moving its embassy to Jerusalem, a court spokesman said Saturday.

Santiago Palomo told AFP that the Constitutional Court’s five magistrates rejected the petition from lawyer Marco Vinicio Mejia. Mejia argued that the embassy relocation was contrary to international law, the report said.

Guatemala is among seven nations who on December 21 sided with the United States and Israel on a UN General Assembly resolution rejecting Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

A few days later, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales announced that his government would also move its embassy to Jerusalem, making it the first country to do so after the U.S.

Standing in front of an image of the Guatemalan and Israeli flags side by side, Morales said that Guatemala was a nation of “Christian thought” and “Israel is our ally and we must support it.” Morales also mentioned “the excellent relations that we have had as nations since Guatemala supported the creation of the State of Israel” in the 1947 UN partition vote.

“Many judge my decision because of my convictions and my faith. But I am proving to them I didn’t do it just for that, but I did it because it was the right thing to do,” Morales, an Evangelical Christian, said last month after receiving an award from a pro-Israel group.

“From the bottom of my heart, I tell you, I don’t feel deserving of an award. I’m just trying to do the right thing and allow my God, my people and history to judge me,” he said.

After Morales’ announcement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “there will be more, this is just the beginning.”

“God bless you, my friend, President Jimmy Morales. God bless both our countries, Israel and Guatemala,” the prime minister said.

Last month, Trump also thanked Morales for his support on the Jerusalem recognition.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Wednesday reaffirmed her country’s gratitude to Morales.

According to AFP, Guatemalan Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel said she received calls from the Palestinian Authority urging Guatemala to reconsider its position. But the country’s view on the matter, she said, was not up for discussion.

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