Guatemala opens new embassy in Jerusalem following USA lead

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Before the ceremony, Netanyahu and Morales held a private meeting.

The opening of the USA embassy in Jerusalem on Monday triggered deadly clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces in Gaza and the West Bank that left 61 dead and over 2,000 others wounded.

Guatemala inaugurated its embassy in Jerusalem, the second country to move its main diplomatic mission from Tel Aviv. This move, which follows the inauguration of the U.S. Embassy two days ago, should hardly come as a surprise: Guatemala's strong ties with Israel go back to 1948, when it was the second country, similarly behind the U.S., to recognize its statehood.

Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his gratitude towards United States President Donald Trump for the same.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Palestine-Israel conflict, with Palestinians seeking East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel since 1967, as the capital of their future independent Palestinian state. Paraguay is also reportedly preparing to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem soon. Israel's claim of the city being its capital was recently strengthened by United States relocating its embassy.

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On the day the United States inaugurated its own embassy in Jerusalem, Israeli gunfire killed 60 Palestinians during the Gaza border protests.

"This is the beginning of something extraordinary, or I would say, the re-beginning of something extraordinary, which is the relationship between Guatemala and Israel", he said.

Guatemala previously had an embassy in Jerusalem, the first country in the world to open an embassy in the city in 1956.

Guatemala was one of only a few nations that backed Trump's decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and it is only the second country to move its embassy to the holy city.