Guatemala opens Israel embassy in Jerusalem after US move

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U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin unveils the seal for the new U.S. embassy, as he stands next to Senior White House Adviser Ivanka Trump during the dedication ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Guatemala inaugurated its Israel embassy in Jerusalem on Wednesday, becoming the first country to follow in the footsteps of the United States’ deeply controversial move.

Related: Trump calls Jerusalem embassy move ‘a great day for Israel’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales were among officials attending an inauguration ceremony at the new embassy at an office park in the disputed city at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The US and Guatemalan moves break with decades of international consensus.

Related: Second Palestinian killed by Israeli fire in Gaza border clashes: ministry

Netanyahu profusely praised the Central American nation for making the move and noted it came only two days after the United States opened its embassy in Jerusalem.

The Israeli premier said he would visit Guatemala on his next visit to Latin America.

The US embassy move on Monday was accompanied by mass protests and clashes along the Gaza border that saw Israeli forces kill 60 Palestinians.

Israel has faced international criticism over its use of live fire but says its actions are necessary to defend the border and stop mass infiltrations from the Palestinian enclave, which is run by Islamist movement Hamas.

-AFP

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