RABAT, Morocco - Divisions over the relocation of the U.S. embassy to West Jerusalem have continued with the latest fallout between the capitals of Morocco and Guatemala.
The United States opened its new embassy in West Jerusalem last Monday provoking considerable international criticism, and resulting in widespread protests along the Gaza-Israeli border which led to the deaths of 62 Palestinians, and the wounding of more than 2,700 others, around half of them having been shot with live ammunition.
Despite the furore, Guatemala followed suit with the United States, and relocated its embassy from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem on Wednesday.
This has drawn ire from Morocco, whose capital city Rabat has formed a relationship with the Guatemalan capital, Guatemala City, with the two planning to forge a twin cities partnership.
Now Rabat has suspended talks with its partner, a unanimous decision by the Rabat council, citing its concern over the isolation of the Palestinians, and Monday's casualty toll.
“Following Guatemala’s decision to establish an embassy in Al Quds (Jerusalem), Rabat’s city council unanimously decided to suspend the examination of a twinning project with Guatemala City in solidarity with the Palestinian people,” Rabat Deputy Mayor Lahcen El Amrani of the Islamist PJD party told Reuters on Saturday.
Guatemala has a limited presence in Africa, with only two embassies, the second of which it established in Rabat in November.
Most countries have decided to stay put in Tel Aviv, particularly while the status of Jerusalem has yet to be determined. It is slated as a topic for peace talks betweeh the Israelis and the Palestinians, if and when they resume. Israel meantime has claimed the whole of Jerusalem as its "eternal and undivided capital."
Adding fuel to the fire, Paraguay's President Horacio Cartes arrived in Israel for the opening on Monday of his country's new embassy - in West Jerusalem.
Israeli Prime Minister, officiating at his third embassy opening in Jrusalem in a week, was full of prais for his counterpart. "You are a great friend of Israel and a great personal friend of mine,” he said. "You have done much”for Paraguay, and are now doing something for both our countries.”
“This is a great day for Israel, a great day for Paraguay, and a great day for our friendship,” Mr Netanyahu said.