LONDON: The UK’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss has told Israeli officials that her government is weighing a decision to move the British Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Truss reportedly told Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid about the proposed embassy decision on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. Lapid said: “We will continue to strengthen the partnership between the countries.”
The Jerusalem issue has proven a longstanding source of friction between Israel and Palestine, both of which regard the city as their capital. Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 and illegally annexed it in 1980.
Most countries have chosen to base their embassies in Israel in Tel Aviv until a two-state solution is reached.
But in 2017, then-US President Donald Trump broke convention in announcing that Washington would move its embassy to Jerusalem, sparking anger among Palestinians. The UK was one of 128 countries that voted to condemn the US move in a UN resolution.
Truss told the Conservative Friends of Israel group last month: “I understand the importance and sensitivity of the location of the British Embassy in Israel. I’ve had many conversations with my good friend (Lapid) on this topic.”
The proposed move is likely to anger many across the Middle East and in Europe, but also within Britain, with foreign policy sources warning that the strategy could inflame tensions.