Pro-Palestine groups welcome UK's Israel embassy U-turn

Pro-Palestine groups welcome UK's Israel embassy U-turn
It follows an exclusive confirmation from the UK government to The New Arab that its Israel embassy would not be moved to Jerusalem.
2 min read
04 November, 2022
The UK embassy is currently located in Tel Aviv. Truss' government was reportedly eyeing a potential, new location in Jerusalem [Getty/archive]

Pro-Palestinian organisations in the UK have welcomed the British government’s announcement that it will not move its Israel embassy to Jerusalem, following exclusive confirmation from The New Arab of a U-turn.

Rishi Sunak's new government on Wednesday told The New Arab it didn't have any plans to relocate its embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

It came just weeks after Sunak's predecessor, Liz Truss, said she was reviewing the mission's location.

Chris Doyle from the Council for Arab-British Understanding (CAABU) said the government's reset was welcomed, but that the initial plans to move the embassy "was reckless".

"[It is] welcome so far as it goes, but the decision shouldn't have even been contemplated from the start. The government shouldn't have listened to hard-line groups like the Conservative Friends of Israel," Doyle said.

"What we want to see now is the government taking a proactive position in ensuring that Israel is held to account, particularly now with crimes going on. We want the [British] government to adhere to international law rather than turning a blind eye [to Israeli crimes]."

Pro-Palestine group Friends of Al-Aqsa also welcomed the move, saying it should be followed by sanctions on Israel.

"Israel is an apartheid state and any move of the British embassy would signal support for apartheid. There should instead be sanctions on Israel for its ongoing violations of international law," the group told The New Arab.


"We will now strengthen our campaign to stop the anti-BDS Bill, which threatens the right of public bodies to boycott and divest from companies complicit in Israeli apartheid."

The Bishop of Southwark Reverend Christopher Chessun, who also condemned the planned move, wrote on Twitter: "Glad to hear today that HMG has no plans to relocate the British Embassy in line with the international status of Jerusalem."

The Archbishop of Canterbury had also expressed concerns about the potential relocation of the British embassy.

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, including in Sheikh Jarrah.

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.