Archbishop concerned about potential move of British embassy to Jerusalem
The Archbishop of Canterbury has expressed concern over the possibility of the British embassy in Israel being moved from Tel Aviv to the disputed holy city of Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Liz Truss told her Israeli counterpart at a UN summit in New York last month that she was considering the move after Donald Trump ordered the same move for the US embassy during his presidency.
Justin Welby is concerned about the possible consequences of such a change before a negotiated settlement is reached between Israel and the Palestinians.
The UK has long maintained its Israeli embassy in Tel Aviv, even though Israel has designated Jerusalem as its capital.
In a statement to the Jewish News on Friday, a spokesman for Mr Welby said: “The Archbishop is concerned about the potential impact of moving the British Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem before a negotiated settlement is reached between the Palestinians and the Israelis.”
“He is in contact with Christian leaders in the Holy Land and continues to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”
A Downing Street spokeswoman previously said Mrs Truss had briefed Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid “on her review of the current location of the British Embassy in Israel” at a UN summit in September.
She made the pledge during the Tory leadership contest in a letter to Conservative Friends of Israel.
Ms Truss said she understood the “importance and sensitivity” of its location.
Labor and the Lib Dems have also expressed concern about the review, with the latter’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Leila Moran warning of “provocation”.
“Under no circumstances should the UK take steps that risk inflaming tensions and damaging prospects for peace,” she said.
“I have written to the Foreign Secretary to make it clear that the embassy move should only take place as part of a negotiated peace agreement between Israel and Palestine and that this review should accordingly be suspended.”
A Labor spokesman told Middle East Eye: “Our position on this matter has not changed, Labor does not support this move. We do not want this move to happen and will oppose it.”
Mr Trump sparked controversy in 2017 when he announced the US embassy would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.