Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) is concerned at reports that UK prime minister Liz Truss is considering relocating the British embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
According to media reports, Truss told Israel’s prime minister, Yair Lapid, that she was mulling the move during a meeting of the United Nations in New York.
Former US president Donald Trump sparked international condemnation and widespread protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory when he moved the US embassy to Jerusalem in 2018.
Truss, who was made prime minister on 5 September following a leadership election in her governing Conservative Party, also suggested such a move was possible during her leadership campaign.
She had told the Conservative Friends of Israel group: “I’ve had many conversations with my good friend … Lapid on this topic. Acknowledging that, I will review a move to ensure we are operating on the strongest footing within Israel.”
Like most countries, the UK currently houses its embassy in Tel Aviv, despite Israel claiming the whole of Jerusalem as its capital. But Palestinian leaders view East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.
Despite the unconditional support enjoyed by Israel from the US and much of the rest of the world, there has previously been little appetite to set up embassies in Jerusalem until the city’s final status can be agreed upon at any potential Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
If the UK decides to move its embassy to the contested city, it would join only the US, Kosovo, Guatemala and Honduras in doing so.
It would also potentially unleash a wave of unrest in the city, with Palestinians furious at the decision and Israelis keen to crack down on Palestinian residents they would see as a threat to the move going ahead.
Media reports suggest that most of the UK establishment, including its civil service leaders, oppose moving the embassy. It would appear that PM Truss is considering the highly provocative move simply to show her solidarity with an increasingly aggressive Israel.
AOHR UK believes that moving the UK embassy to Jerusalem would be a symbolic gesture in support of Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the occupied city of Jerusalem.
AOHR UK demands that the UK does not move its embassy, but instead puts pressure on Israel to abide by international law and halt its ongoing expansion into Palestinian areas and its oppression and expulsion of those living there.