Jimmy Morales and Benjamin Netanyahu
Guatemalan President Morales with Israeli PM Netanyahu Source: Twitter/IsraelinSpanish

The Central American country Guatemala plans to follow the example of the United States and move its Israel embassy to Jerusalem.

"Today I spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu," Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales said in a Facebook post on Sunday.

"We spoke about the great relationships we have had as nations since Guatemala supported the creation of the State of Israel. One of the most relevant topics was the return of the Embassy of Guatemala to Jerusalem," Morales continued.

"I inform you that I have given instructions to the Chancellor (Foreign Minister) to initiate the process to make it possible. God bless you."

Guatemala is following the example of the U.S.

On December 6, U.S. President Donald Trump declared that his administration views Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will move its embassy to the city.

The U.S. decision was widely condemned by governments and leaders around the world. Close U.S. allies in Europe and the Middle East criticized the move, saying it would have a destabilizing effect on the region.

Last Thursday, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to condemn the declaration. Leading up to the vote, the U.S. threatened U.N. members, stating that it would be "taking names" of those who opposed its wishes. 

Nonetheless, 128 nations – including every Arab country – stood together in support of Palestine, with only nine nations voting against the resolution, including Guatemala, Israel, and the U.S. 

Thirty-five nations abstained from voting, and 21 others didn't show up to vote.

Palestine's U.N. envoy Riyad Mansour called the result as a "massive setback" for the United States.

The international community voted against Trump's declaration

The vote in the U.N. General Assembly followed one in the U.N. Security Council last Monday. All the council members – except the U.S. – voted in support of a resolution seen as a condemnation of Trump's declaration. 

Despite a 14 to 1 vote, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley vetoed the decision on behalf of her country. China, France, Russia, the U.S., and the United Kingdom all have veto power on the security council.

Trump and Haley have both voiced threats to the nations which chose to go against the U.S.

"Let them vote against us,” the U.S. President said last week

“We’ll save a lot. We don’t care," he added.

Trump went on to say that things will be different than when they were under previous U.S. administrations.

"But this isn’t like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars," he said. 

"We’re not going to be taken advantage of any longer."

Israel welcomes Guatemala's decision

Israel has welcomed the decision by the U.S. and Guatemala, saying that more nations will follow their example.

"Guatemalans 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," Israel’s president, Reuven Rivlin said, according to The Guardian

"We look forward to welcoming you to Jerusalem!"

For its part, Palestine's Foreign Ministry condemned Guatemala's decision.

"It's a shameful and illegal act that goes totally against the wishes of church leaders in Jerusalem and violates a non-binding UN General Assembly resolution condemning the U.S. move", the ministry said according to AFP.

"The state of Palestine considers this as a flagrant act of hostility against the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and international law ... The state of Palestine will act with regional and international partners to oppose this illegal decision," the ministry said.