DFA denies plan to transfer embassy to Jerusalem

Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, while Palestinians, consider east Jerusalem as the occupied capital of their future state.

President Trump announced on December 6 that the United States would henceforth recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US embassy from Tel Aviv-the coastal city that serves as Israel's primary commercial hub-to the ancient city that served as Israel's capital for more than 1,000 years, beginning with King David and his son, King Solomon.

Guatemala's president announced on Christmas Eve that the Central American country will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, becoming the first nation to follow the lead of U.S. President Donald Trump in ordering the change. While no hints of what that peace offer may entail have been released, Capitol Hill observers have suggested that Kushner would reveal the contents of a new deal in early 2018. Guatemala stipulated that it would authorize the move only after the USA does so.

Katz said a high-speed rail station would allow visitors to reach "the beating heart of the Jewish people - the Western Wall and the Temple Mount".

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Morales said he had informed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and instructed Guatemala's foreign ministry to start the process of moving the embassy, The Jerusalem Post reported. Explaining that the Guatemalans would not make the move before the US did, Israel's ambassador to Guatemala said on Tuesday that it could take years, while US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson previously called three years "ambitious".

Congress passed a law in 1995 that ordered the US embassy to be located in Jerusalem, but every USA president since the mandate became law made a decision to delay it, arguing that a relocation must come through negotiations, not a decree.

Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 6 led to nearly unanimous support from across the Israeli political spectrum but sparked waves of protests across the world.

Previous excavations by Israel near the holy site - the spiritual epicenter of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - have sparked violent Palestinian protests.

  • Sonia Alvarado