Arab League condemns potential UK move of Israel embassy to Jerusalem
The Secretary-General of the Arab League has warned the UK against any possible move of its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as the Palestinian foreign ministry said it would be launching a campaign to stop the potential British action.
In a speech given via video link to the UK Conservative Party conference, Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit called on the British government to "refrain from taking any illegal action".
UK Prime Minister Liz Truss, a self-proclaimed "huge Zionist" who took office last month, had earlier told the Conservative Friends of Israel lobby group that she was open to considering a possible relocation of the British embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Most of the international community does not recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, in line with UN resolutions on the issue. Israel occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem following the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and has annexed it in violation of international law.
The US administration of former President Donald Trump moved its embassy to Jerusalem in 2017 however, and some countries have followed suit.
"I take this opportunity to express our concern over the recent statements by Prime Minister Truss on reviewing the location of the UK embassy in Israel," Aboul Gheit told the Conservative conference.
"I reiterate our rejection and condemnation of any unilateral decisions that might breach the legal or the historical status of the holy city of Jerusalem or to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which is the occupying power according to international law."
Aboul Gheit also said that moving the British embassy to Jerusalem could compromise the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
The Guardian reported earlier this week that even Arab countries which normalised ties with Israel under the 2020 controversial Abraham Accords are opposed to the British move.
Arab diplomats in the UK have said that the potential move of the embassy could threaten a much-touted free trade deal between the UK and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
A spokesman for the Palestinian foreign ministry, Ahmed Al-Deek, told the Arabic news website Arabi 21 that the Palestinian Authority would conduct a campaign "on all levels" to prevent the potential move.