UK Archbishop of Canterbury 'concerned' by potential British embassy move to Jerusalem
The UK’s Archbishop of Canterbury has expressed concerns about the potential relocation of the British embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem before Palestinians and Israelis reach a peace settlement.
UK Prime Minister Liz 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 an ever-growing list of Arab diplomats and faith leaders - which now includes one of Britain’s leading Christian figures, Archbishop Justin Welby.
"The Archbishop is concerned about the potential impact of moving the British embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem before a negotiated settlement between Palestinians and Israelis has been reached," a spokesperson for the archbishop told Jewish News on Friday.
"He is in touch with Christian leaders in the Holy Land and continues to pray for the peace of Jerusalem," they added.
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 holy city are routinely subjected to brutality at the hands of Israeli soldiers, including forced evictions from their family homes.
Hope endures among some Palestinians that occupied East Jerusalem will be the capital of their future state - despite former US President Donald Trump moving the American embassy to Jerusalem in 2018.
Liz Truss mooted a potential embassy move once again when she met Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid last month in New York.
Welby’s concerns over potential relocation came one day after the Archbishop of Westminister, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, said he wrote to Truss to express his "profound concern" over the review.
"Such a relocation of the UK embassy would be seriously damaging to any possibility of lasting peace in the region and to the international reputation of the United Kingdom," Nichols said in a statement.
Britain’s opposition parties Labour and the Liberal Democrats have confirmed they would oppose Truss' potential embassy move.