World

As criticism for Israel mounts, Guatemala opens its embassy in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM — Israel on Wednesday welcomed another new embassy in Jerusalem, even as the diplomatic fallout over Gaza bloodshed intensified with Israel and Turkey trading bitter recriminations.

The international denunciations cast a shadow over what Israel had hoped would be another showcase moment this week: Guatemala’s president cutting the ribbon on its new embassy in Jerusalem in a tidy office park on the other side of the city from the newly minted US Embassy.

It was the first nation to join the United States in making the move and formally recognizing the contested city as Israel’s capital, and brought Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a list of prominent US delegates.

Advertisement

Beyond the toasts and congratulations, however, Israel was locked in widening diplomatic confrontations — led by domino-style expulsions and insults with Turkey.

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Turkey on Tuesday expelled Israel’s ambassador and consul. That prompted Israel to retaliate with its own expulsions of top Turkish diplomats.

On Wednesday, Israel’s departing ambassador, Eitan Na’eh, received an uncustomary search at Israel’s airport in an apparent attempt at public humiliation, including being forced to take off his shoes.

‘‘This is an inappropriate treatment of Israeli Ambassador Eitan Na’eh,’’ Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded in a statement. It summoned the Turkish diplomat hours later. And invited journalists.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Netanyahu had already exchanged insults on Twitter after Monday’s chaos along Gaza’s border fence with Israel, which has blockaded the coastal enclave for more than a decade.

Advertisement

Israeli troops opened fire on Palestinian protests in Gaza trying to breach the border, killing some 60 people and wounding thousands. Israel and the United States claim the protests were engineered by Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza. Many Palestinians say they only hope to draw attention to the worsening conditions under Israel’s blockade.

In a further poke at Turkey, Israeli lawmakers then called on the government to formally recognize the Turkish mass killing of Armenians a century ago as genocide — a move certain to bring sharp anger in Turkey.