PA recalls envoys to 4 European countries

Illustrative Man holding a US passport

European foreign ministries on Monday slammed the U.S. decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, saying it violates worldwide law, is unwise and is likely to exacerbate tensions.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales also said in December that the country would move its embassy back to Jerusalem.

Guatemala opened an embassy in Jerusalem on Wednesday, two days after the United States inaugurated its new site in the contested city in a move that infuriated Palestinians and drew global condemnation.

The Palestinians have said that they believe the participation of diplomats of European countries in opening the Embassy of the United States "a serious violation of global law".

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The opening comes almost 30-years after the UN ordered Guatemala and 13 other nations to relocate their embassies from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu hailed the opening of Guatemala's embassy in Jerusalem as "the beginning of something extraordinary" in the relationship between the two countries. "You are the second country to recognize Israel, but you had a very important role in this". Paraguay said it will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the end of May.

"The Guatemalan government has chosen to stand on the wrong side of history, to side with violations of worldwide law and human rights, and to take a hostile step against the Palestinian people and the Arab world", Saeb Erekat, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said Wednesday. It closed in 1980 following a United Nations Security Council resolution that called for such closures. "We remember our friends and Guatemala is our friend, then and now".

This comes two-days after the United States (US) inaugurated its embassy in Jerusalem.

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Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the worldwide community.

The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and view the relocation of the embassy as a one-sided move that invalidates the U.S. as a peace broker in the region.

While Jean-Yves Le Drian, France's Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, said the decision to move the embassies to Jerusalem "violated worldwide law and in particular UN Security Council resolutions". According to health officials, at least 63 Palestinians were killed along the Gaza Strip in the demonstrations Monday.

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