Palestinians Urge Arab World to Cut Ties With Guatemala, Paraguay for Relocating Embassies to Jerusalem

Both countries followed the U.S. in moving their embassies to Jerusalem: 'It was clear that no Arab nation would cut its ties with the U.S. However, with countries like Guatemala and Paraguay, it may be possible'

In this handout photo released by the Miraflores Presidential Press Office, President Nicolas Maduro, left, walks with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas as they review the honor guard during a welcoming ceremony at the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, May 7, 2018. (Marcelo Garcia/Miraflores Presidential Press Office via AP)
Marcelo Garcia/AP

The Palestinian Authority is urging the Arab world and Islamic nations to cut ties with Guatemala and Paraguay after the two countries followed the U.S. in relocating their embassies to Jerusalem.

A senior Palestinian official involved in the diplomatic effort told Haaretz that Paraguay has embassies in Lebanon, Qatar, Morocco and Egypt, while Guatemala has missions to Egypt, Morocco and Turkey.

"A similar request was made regarding America after it relocated its embassy, but it was clear that no Arab nation would cut its ties with the U.S. However, with countries like Guatemala and Paraguay, it may be possible and that can serve as leverage over other countries that are thinking about doing the same thing" in regards to their embassies.

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Paraguay officially moved its country’s embassy to Jerusalem on Monday, with President Horacio Cartes in Israel for the ceremony, also attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with President Horacio Cartes at official opening of Paraguayan embassy in Jerusalem
Alex Kolomoisky, GPO

Paraguay is now the third country to move its embassy to Jerusalem, following the United States and Guatemala. The inauguration ceremony took place at noon at the embassy’s new home in the Malkha technology park, which also houses the Guatemalan embassy.

At the beginning of the month, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appealed to Latin American countries not to move their embassies to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, describing East Jerusalem as "the capital of the Palestinian state."

Netanyahu gave a speech at the ceremony in which he emphasized that both countries "have great cooperation and it will be even better... We have no better friends than you," Netanyahu said.

At the event, Netanyahu also said "Paraguay helped Jews escape Nazi Germany. We will never forget this." Paraguay, however, was also known as a safe haven for Nazi fugitives - including Josef Mengele.

Cartes responded by saying, "From the depth of my heart, I appreciate this country that courageously defends its right to live in peace and it is building a praiseworthy economically prosperous state that ensures its future and that of its children."

On May 5, speaking during a visit to the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, Abbas said most countries respect the status of East Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said his government was a "friend" of "Arab peoples" and that it supported "the cause of a free, independent and peaceful Palestine."

Guatemala's embassy moved to Jerusalem this month, two days after the U.S. relocated its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.