UK's top Catholic cardinal urges Truss against Jerusalem embassy move
Cardinal Vincent Nichols took to Twitter on Thursday to say that he had written to Truss to voice his concerns about the possible move.
"I have written to the Prime Minister to express profound concern over her call for a review of the location of the British Embassy to the State of Israel, with the suggestion that it might be moved away from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem," tweeted Cardinal Nichols, who is Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster and president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.
Cardinal Nichols added that such a move would be "seriously damaging to any possibility of lasting peace in the region and to the international reputation of the United Kingdom", highlighting that Pope Francis has long called for the upholding of the status quo on the Jerusalem question.
Israel claims the whole of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinian Authority views occupied East Jerusalem as the potential capital of its future state.
The Catholic clergyman's letter comes days after Truss said she is reviewing whether or not to keep the embassy in Tel Aviv.
I have written to the Prime Minister to express profound concern over her call for a review of the location of the British Embassy to the State of Israel, with the suggestion that it might be moved away from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.— Cardinal Nichols (@CardinalNichols) October 6, 2022
The UK's touted move follows a controversial decision by the US to switch its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018. The move broke decades of convention and was seen as a betrayal of Palestinians and their hopes for statehood.
Israel considers Jerusalem as its capital, while some Palestinians hope for occupied East Jerusalem - annexed in 1967 - to be their future capital.
A spokesperson for the British government's Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office told Reuters in a statement that Truss "understands the importance and sensitivity of the location of the British embassy in Israel".
Several Arab leaders and diplomats - including Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh - have warned that a UK embassy move would further undermine the status quo and obstruct hopes for peace.
Jerusalem, which is considered holy by Christians, Jews, and Muslims, has long had its holy sites governed under the consensus that Jordan has custodianship over the Muslim and Christian holy sites.
The understanding also prevents Jewish prayers in the Muslim holy sites - a facet of the agreement which Israeli hardliners have long worked to undermine.
Last month, Jordan's King Abdullah II warned at the UN General Assembly that Christianity is "under fire" in the holy city.
He said: "The rights of churches in Jerusalem are threatened."