Monday, December 25, 2017

After Trump, Guatemala first nation in the world to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital


After Trump, Guatemala first nation in the world to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

By Julio Severo
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday hailed Guatemala’s decision to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem, saying other countries will soon follow suit.
President Jimmy Morales, of Guatemala, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
“God bless you, my friend, President Jimmy Morales. God bless both our countries, Israel and Guatemala,” said Netanyahu at the weekly Likud faction meeting in the Knesset.
With the move of its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, Guatemala will become the first nation in the world to follow President Donald Trump’s lead in ordering the change.
All the major U.S. mainline newspapers have run headlines on Guatemala recognizing that Jerusalem belongs to Israel. This is an historical event for Latin America and the world.
While Czech Republic had briefly suggested it could follow Trump’s example, it quickly reversed its position, and by last week had contented itself with merely abstaining in a UN general assembly vote that overwhelming criticized Trump’s move. The Czech Republic declined to support directly Trump.
Guatemalan President Morales said on his official Facebook account on Sunday that after talks with Netanyahu, he decided to instruct his foreign ministry to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
On Monday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, and Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Michael Oren applauded Guatemala’s announcement.
“Viva Guatemala! It takes courage for a superpower to stand up for justice and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital. But it takes even more — immense guts — for a small nation to do that,” Oren wrote on Twitter. “People of Guatemala, the people of Israel will never forget your support and bravery.”
“Guatemala have shown they know very well that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel! I welcome their decision to bring their embassy to Jerusalem and thank them for their deep friendship,” said Rivlin. “We look forward to welcoming you to Jerusalem!”
Guatemala is home to about 1,000 Jews among a population of 15 million.
Guatemala was one of nine nations that voted last week with the United States when the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a non-binding resolution denouncing Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The 128-9 U.N. vote was seen as a victory for Palestinian invaders.
President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Dec 6, reversing decades of unfulfilled promises of U.S. Democratic and Republican presidents who talked about officially recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but kept their talk eternally in an unofficial realm.
Several major US allies abstained from supporting Trump at the UN, among them Australia, Canada, Mexico and Poland. Strong U.S. allies, such as Britain, France, Germany and Saudi Arabia, voted against Trump denouncing his decision on Jerusalem.
Guatemala was one of the first nations to recognize the state of Israel upon its establishment in 1948.
On Nov. 29, 1947, when the U.N. voted to partition the British mandate of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, the countries did not vote in alphabetical order starting with “A.”
Instead, the U.N. put the names of all of the member countries in a hat — then picked one, started with that country and went in alphabetical order from there.
By sheer chance, the country picked out of the hat, and thus the very first country to vote for the creation of the modern state of Israel, was Guatemala.
Prior to 1980, Guatemala maintained an embassy in Jerusalem. But after an Israeli law in June 1980 proclaimed Jerusalem its “indivisible and eternal capital,” the U.N. called upon Guatemala to move its embassy to Tel Aviv. Guatemala complied.
Even though Guatemala has long had close security cooperation with Israel including being a purchaser of Israeli arms, closer relations with Israel were only made possible with President Jimmy Morales, an evangelical Christian.
It is no coincidence that, according to analysts, Guatemala will be the first mostly Protestant nation in Latin America.
No other religion is closer to Israel than evangelicalism. Any nation or president who is a practicing evangelical is closer to Israel.
So it is just natural that the first nation that is becoming evangelical in Latin America is also the first nation in Latin America to recognize the obvious reality that Jerusalem belongs exclusively to Israel. Evangelicalism and pro-Israel support go hand in hand.
Trump is closer to Israel because he is closer to evangelicals. In fact, he is himself an evangelical, even though not much practicing.
Jimmy Morales is closer to Israel because he is an evangelical and because he is closer to evangelicals in Guatemala, which is home to an increasing Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal population who loves Israel.
With its decision to return its embassy to Jerusalem, Guatemala abandons the old cowardly diplomacy, which removed its embassy from Jerusalem in 1980.
Even though Brazil is the largest nation in Latin America, its diplomacy is largely dwarfish. Brazil, which is the largest Catholic nation in the world, has consistently taken, even during the military rule, anti-Israel stances for many decades in its diplomacy to Israel, especially at the U.N.
The increasing Brazilian Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal population is fervently pro-Israel, but they are a minority in the Brazilian population and in the government. Even though they have protested that Brazil has voted against Trump at the U.N. and even though they recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Brazilian government has paid no attention to them.
Just as Guatemala needed an evangelical president to correct government injustices against Israel, Brazil will also need an evangelical president.
By having Guatemala recognize again Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, evangelical Morales took a gigantic step for Guatemala, a step that will certainly prosper Guatemala and put to shame the dwarfish act of the “gigantic” Brazil of following U.S. allies Britain and Saudi Arabia that voted against Trump.
“So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.” (Matthew 20:16 NKJV) How right are these Jesus’s words regarding Latin America! Tiny Guatemala is in the first place by supporting Israel. Brazil is in the last place by opposing Israel.
Nevertheless, both Trump and Morales didn’t set any specific timetable for moving their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
With information from Times of Israel, Fox News, The Guardian, Reuters, Associated Press and New York Times.
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