Guatemala faces Arab, Muslim boycott after Jerusalem announcement: PLO

Guatemala faces Arab, Muslim boycott after Jerusalem announcement: PLO

AMMAN: Guatemala could soon face a cardamom boycott from Arab and Muslim countries, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said Wednesday. The boycott threat follows Guatemala’s announcement on Monday that it will follow the US in moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

According to the PLO, Guatemala exports annually $300 million worth of cardamom to Arab and Muslim-majority countries. Cardamom is a major ingredient in Arabic dishes and coffee.

“We’ll be conducting an overall assessment of all our alliances, and will evaluate our relations based on mutual interests, with a clear eye as to who is genuinely supporting the cause of peace in Palestine and who is against our national interests,” Anees Sweidan, head of external relations at the PLO, told Arab News.

Former Guatemalan Vice President Edward Stein has warned of the negative repercussions of a boycott on some 45,000 cardamom farmers in his country. The Guatemala Export Association sent a letter to the Foreign Ministry calling on the president to rescind his Jerusalem decision, the PLO said.

A deputy Israeli minister on Monday said his country is in touch with at least 10 others over the possible transfer of their embassies to Jerusalem after the US recognized the city as Israel’s capital. He did not name the countries.

The PLO has urged the Arab League to initiate an economic boycott against every country that moves its embassy to Jerusalem. Such a boycott forced Guatemala to reverse a similar decision in the 1990s. The Palestinian government on Wednesday praised the 129 countries that voted against America’s Jerusalem announcement at the UN General Assembly and urged countries that voted in favor to review their positions.

The government praised South Africa for its decision to downgrade its diplomatic mission in Tel Aviv, and said Guatemala’s announcement “is contrary to international law and the decisions of the international community,” and puts the country “on the wrong side of history and international law.”

The Arab League on Wednesday said a meeting of Arab foreign ministers will take place in Amman, Jordan, on Jan. 6.

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