Truss is under pressure to drop the ‘reckless’ move of the British Israeli embassy
Prime Minister Liz Truss has been urged by foreign policy experts to reconsider her government’s review of moving the British embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem amid growing fears a move could tarnish Britain’s reputation and threaten security in the region.
In a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid in New York last month, Truss confirmed she would be reviewing the current location of the British embassy, which could result in Britain following the United States, which opened its embassy in 2018 during Donald’s tenure Trump’s presidency moved to Jerusalem.
During last summer’s Conservative leadership contest, Truss wrote a letter to the Conservative Friends of Israel She promised that if she wins, she would “consider taking a step to ensure we operate with Israel on the strongest base.” The letter, along with her remarks to Lapid, has raised concerns in diplomatic circles.
Britain’s current position is that Jerusalem should be the joint capital of Israel and a Palestinian state, subject to a negotiated settlement. Moving the embassy would be a de facto acknowledgment that the city alone is the capital of Israel.
Apart from the USA, only Kosovo, Honduras and Guatemala have their embassies in Jerusalem.
Former Foreign Secretary Sir Alan Duncan, who held the post between 2016 and 2019, has warned that moving the embassy would be “reckless and unprincipled” and “mark a fundamental shift in UK foreign policy”.
In a letter to the Financial Times, he argued: “If the embassy move were to go ahead, it would destroy the UK’s reputation for respecting international law and undermine our standing in the world.”
Meanwhile, Alistair Burt, former Foreign Secretary and Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department, argued that a move would go against UN Security Council resolutions on Israel and Palestine, which the UK has supported in the past.
“We urge other countries to work multilaterally and honor their international commitments, and we don’t want to be seen walking back ours,” he said.
Sir Simon Fraser, a former diplomat and former Secretary of State at the Foreign Office, argued that the embassy move could signal a “weakening” of Britain’s commitment to the two-state solution.
Others have warned the decision could have further negative consequences for the UK. Sir Vincent Fean, a former British consul-general in Jerusalem, said the move would “anger the Arab and Muslim world for no good reason” and could jeopardize a trade deal between the UK and the Gulf Cooperation Council. The government hopes The deal will be worth more than £1.6 billion a year to the UK economy.
Fean added that a move could also have significant security implications, noting that more than 50 Palestinians died following the US embassy move. “Life is at risk,” he warned. “Jerusalem is a powder keg. Ms. Truss should put out her match.”
Downing Street said work on the review is underway but the government has not yet outlined a timeline for its completion.
Labor and the Liberal Democrats say they oppose any move of the embassy, while religious figures such as Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, and Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, have called on the government to “rethinkr” the move.
The Conservative Group is also uneasy about the matter. writing in Times This week, former party leader William Hague warned against any move, arguing that it would “align Britain with Donald Trump on foreign policy matters”.
A senior backbencher, who called the prospect of the move “madness”, said MPs were concerned about how the move would be perceived by Muslim voters and the wider impact on Britain’s foreign policy interests and the stability of the region.
Another senior party official warned that the move would create “nervousness around the world.”
https://www.ft.com/content/5d4f9455-cad2-43d8-bcd3-de5b038cb67b Truss is under pressure to drop the ‘reckless’ move of the British Israeli embassy