December 25, 2017 — New York
AJC welcomed the announcement by Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales that the country plans to return its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, where it had been located until 1980.
“Friends of Israel have had a special place in our hearts for Guatemala for more than 70 years,” said AJC CEO David Harris, who has visited the Central American nation on the global agency’s behalf. “Who can ever forget the absolutely indispensable role played by Guatemalan Ambassador to the UN Jorge Garcia Granados, in 1947, in urging Latin American states to support the rebirth of Israel and the two-state solution, recommended, first, by the UN Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP), then by the UN General Assembly?”
Tragically, the Arab world categorically rejected the UN proposal and instead chose to go to war.Earlier this month, AJC’s Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin America Affairs (BILLA) held its annual strategic forum, in Bogotá, Colombia, at which Ambassador Granados’s granddaughter, Aracely, was a featured guest.
“Guatemala’s principled decision affirms the reality that Jerusalem is, and always has been, Israel’s capital,” Harris added. “As we said at the time the United States made its announcement, this step in no way precludes any possible two-state accord or discussion of Jerusalem’s final boundaries, but it does correct a historical, political, and diplomatic anomaly about the right of Israel, like any sovereign country, to designate its own capital.”
“We will be holding our annual AJC Global Forum in Jerusalem next June, to coincide with Israel’s 70th birthday,” Harris concluded. “We shall hope to pay tribute to Guatemala’s courage and friendship at that time in front of a worldwide audience.”