Why Guatemala Was the First to Join the U.S. in Recognizing Jerusalem

Dec. 27 2017

On Sunday, Guatemala announced its intention to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem—making it the first country to follow America’s lead in doing so. Honduras, Togo, Paraguay, Romania, and Slovakia are reportedly considering doing the same. Rafael Ahren explains that the decision comes on the heels of a long history of Israeli-Guatemalan friendship:

Seventy years ago, Guatemala’s ambassador to the UN, Jorge Garcia Granados, a member of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, played a crucial role in convincing Latin American countries to vote in favor of General Assembly Resolution 181, which called for the partition of Mandatory Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state. Guatemala was [also] one of the first countries to recognize the nascent state of Israel [after it declared its independence in 1948]. . . .

In the 1970s, Israel was said to have assisted the military juntas ruling Guatemala a great deal in the area of counterinsurgency, providing them with advice and equipment. . . . Ties [have] also been strong in the fields of civilian technology and tourism, among others. . . . In December 2013, Otto Fernando Perez Molina became the first president of Guatemala to visit Israel. . . .

Fast forward to 2015, when [Guatemala’s President Jimmy] Morales—a former comedian who’d never held political office—won the country’s presidential elections with 67 percent of the votes. Morales, a devout evangelical Christian, has . . . called his country’s relationship with Israel “excellent.”

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy, Jerusalem, Latin America

No, Israel Hasn’t Used Disproportionate Force against Hamas

Aug. 15 2018

Last week, Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza launched nearly 200 rockets and mortars into Israel, in addition to the ongoing makeshift incendiary devices and sporadic sniper fire. Israel responded with an intensive round of airstrikes, which stopped the rockets. Typically, condemnations of the Jewish state’s use of “disproportionate force” followed; and typically, as Peter Lerner, a former IDF spokesman, explains, these were wholly inaccurate:

The IDF conducted, by its own admission, approximately 180 precision strikes. In the aftermath of those strikes the Hamas Ministry of Health announced that three people had been killed. One of the dead was [identified] as a Hamas terrorist. The two others were reported as civilians: Inas Abu Khmash, a twenty-three-year-old pregnant woman, and her eighteen-month daughter, Bayan. While their deaths are tragic, they are not an indication of a disproportionate response to Hamas’s bombardment of Israel’s southern communities. With . . . 28 Israelis who required medical assistance [and] 30 Iron Dome interceptions, I would argue the heart-rending Palestinian deaths indicate the exact opposite.

The precision strikes on Hamas’s assets with so few deaths show how deep and thorough is the planning process the IDF has put in place. . . . Proportionality in warfare, [however], is not a numbers game, as so many of the journalists I’ve worked with maintain. . . . Proportionality weighs the necessity of a military action against the anguish that the action might cause to civilians in the vicinity. . . . In the case of the last few days, it appears that even intended combatant deaths were [deemed] undesirable, due to their potential to increase the chances of war. . . .

The question that should be repeated is why indiscriminate rocket fire against Israeli civilians from behind Gazan civilians is accepted, underreported, and not condemned.

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, IDF, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict