Truss suggested moving embassy to Jerusalem's Talpiot area before resignation: report

Truss suggested moving embassy to Jerusalem's Talpiot area before resignation: report
Outgoing British Prime Minister Liz Truss had reportedly tasked a team with studying an area in Jerusalem as a potential location for the UK embassy to Israel.
2 min read
22 October, 2022
Britain had a military base in Talpiot when it controlled Palestine prior to 1948 [Getty/archive]

Israel hopes Britain still intends on moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem despite Liz Truss' resignation earlier this week after the latter country studied a potential location in the holy city, Israeli media reports have signed.

The now-resigned UK prime minister, in office for only 45 days, reportedly issued instructions to her inner circle to start studying the feasibility of establishing a British embassy in the West Jerusalem neighbourhood of Talpiot, according to the Israeli Yedioth Ahronoth.

Britain had an army camp in that area, known as Mahane Allenby, when it controlled Palestine prior to the 1948 war that led to the establishment of Israel and the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.

The newspaper reported that a British delegation visited Talpiot and closely examined whether it would be suitable for a future embassy, although no decision in London had yet been made.

"However, the joy may be premature. Senior officials in Israel predicted, even before Truss’ resignation, that the chances of Britain actually moving its embassy to Jerusalem were quite slim," wrote Yedioth Ahronoth.

"Britain has heavy interests in the Arab and Muslim world, and such a step may seriously harm them. [Officials] assumed that the British Foreign Office and other factors in the [United] Kingdom will veto the measure," it added.

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Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid celebrated Truss's appointment, with high hopes she would follow in the footsteps of former US President Donald Trump, who moved Washington’s embassy to Jerusalem in 2018.

Truss, a self-proclaimed "huge Zionist," told the lobby group Conservative Friends of Israel during her leadership bid this summer that she was open to considering a possible move of the British embassy.

The relocation "review" has been met with fierce criticism from a long list of Arab diplomats.

British faith leaders and politicians have also warned against the move.

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. Palestinians living in the city are routinely subjected to brutality at the hands of Israeli soldiers, including forced evictions from their family homes.

As well as the US, Guatemala, Honduras and Kosovo also have embassies in Jerusalem.