OIC slams Guatemala's Israel embassy move

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Tuesday condemned Guatemala's decision this week to follow Washington's lead by moving its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"This illegal step constitutes a violation of UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, especially UNSC Resolution 478, which rejects any measure that would alter the occupied city's historical and legal status," the Jeddah-based organization said in a statement.

In January, OIC Secretary-General Yousef bin Ahmed al-Othaimeen sent a letter to Guatemalan Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel urging the latter to refrain from moving his country's Israel embassy to Jerusalem.

Such a move, al-Othaimeen warned, would "represent an attack on the rights of the Palestinian people and the rights of the world's millions of Muslims and Christians".

In the same letter, the OIC chief urged Guatemala to respect international law and adopt positions that support the prospects for peace based on a "two-state solution" to the Palestine-Israel conflict.

On Monday, the Ramallah-based Palestinian government slammed Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales's decision -- announced earlier the same day -- to relocate his country's embassy to Jerusalem.

Notably, Morales's announcement came shortly after a meeting in Washington with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Last December, U.S. President Donald Trump sparked outcry across the Arab and Muslim world after recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and vowing to relocate Washington's embassy to the city.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Palestine-Israel conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem -- occupied by Israel since 1967 -- might eventually serve as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.

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