1. ITV Report

Guatemala to move Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

President Jimmy Morales made the announcement on Facebook. Credit: AP

Guatemala is to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The Central American country is the first nation to follow Donald Trump's lead in ordering the change.

In a message on his official Facebook account, President Jimmy Morales said that after talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and due to the "excellent relations" between the two countries, he had told his country's foreign ministry to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Mr Morales wrote: "Dear people of Guatemala,

"Today I spoke with the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu.

"We talked about the excellent relations that we have had as nations since Guatemala supported the creation of the state of Israel.

"One of the most important topics was the return of the embassy of Guatemala to Jerusalem.

"So I inform you that I have instructed the chancellor to initiate the respective coordination so that it may be.

"God bless you."

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Earlier in December President Trump upended decades of US policy by declaring that he recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Though Mr Trump said he was merely recognising reality and not prejudging negotiations on the future borders of the city, Palestinians saw the move as siding with Israel on the most sensitive issue in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was an oft-repeated pledge of Mr Trump's presidential campaign.

Guatemala was one of nine nations that voted earlier this week with the United States when the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a non-binding resolution denouncing Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The resolution passed at the UN declared the US action on Jerusalem "null and void."

The 128-9 vote was a victory for Palestinians, but fell short of the total they had predicted.

Thirty-five nations abstained and 21 stayed away from the vote.

Neither Guatemala or the US have set a timetable for the move of their embassies.

Since Mr Trump's announcement almost three weeks ago, there have been clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces which have left 12 Palestinians dead.

Why is the capital of Israel so contentious?

The ancient city of Jerusalem lies at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel captured East Jerusalem - home to important Jewish, Christian and Islamic shrines - in the 1967 Middle East War and later annexed it - a move that is not recognised internationally.

Israel has always regarded Jerusalem as its capital, but Palestine wants the East Jerusalem - home to some 400,000 Palestinians - to be the capital of a future independent Palestine state.