Jerusalem churches voice concerns over UK Israel embassy move
UK Prime Minister Liz Truss last month told her Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid "about her review of the current location of the British embassy in Israel", according to her office
The announcement raised the prospect of the UK following Washington and relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The move by former President Donald Trump in 2018 broke with decades of international consensus, as governments have generally refused to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of either an Israeli or Palestinian state before a lasting peace accord is reached.
On Monday, Jerusalem church heads warned the potential UK embassy move "would severely undermine this key principle... and the political negotiations that it seeks to advance".
The Council of the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem represents all denominations in the city, which is home to the holiest site in Christianity.
The Old City, in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, also hosts the most sacred site in Judaism and the third-holiest site in Islam.
"The religious Status Quo in Jerusalem is essential for preserving the harmony of our Holy City and good relations between religious communities around the globe," said the church heads.
The UK's review, they added, implied that there was no need for peace talks and that "the continuing military occupation of those territories and the unilateral annexation of east Jerusalem are both acceptable".
Israel illegally occupied the Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967.
Noting that Christians have lived in the territory "under many different empires and governments" for some 2,000 years, they pressed the UK government to "redouble their diplomatic efforts" towards an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
Their intervention from Jerusalem follows similar statements by church leaders in the UK.
A spokesperson for the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the senior bishop of the Anglican Church, last week told the UK website Jewish News he was "concerned about the potential impact of moving the British embassy" to Jerusalem.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the country's most senior Catholic cleric, said on Thursday that relocating the embassy would "be seriously damaging to any possibility of lasting peace in the region".