Free Palestine Melbourne - Freedom and Justice for Palestine and its People.

Arab diplomats urge Liz Truss not to move British embassy to Jerusalem

by admin

Arab ambassadors in London are urging Liz Truss not to go ahead with “an illegal and ill-judged” plan to move the British embassy to Jerusalem.

Some Arab diplomats have even said the plan could jeopardise talks on a highly prized free trade deal between the UK and the Gulf Cooperation Council due to be completed this year.

A private letter was sent before Truss’s trip to the UN in New York, where she confirmed the review, but after the state funeral of Queen.

EU allies have told the UK they think the move is unwise and are privately speculating that Truss took the initiative not just due to her close ties with Israel but out of her desire to be noticed as a disruptive force.

It was expected that a predictable group of pro-Palestinian countries represented in London would object to the proposed embassy move, but the letter sent by the diplomats has the endorsement of all of the Arab countries, including those that support the Abraham accords signed in September 2020. The accords are designed to lead to a general warming of ties with Israel for its signatories, including Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

It is understood that some of the Arab states most inclined to the Abraham accords are most disturbed by the move since they fear the accords will be damaged by the claim they opened the way to it.

However, making a future trade deal contingent on retaining the UK embassy in Tel Aviv may prove a step too far for some more pragmatic Gulf state capitals. It remains to be seen how vocal they will make their objections.

In the Tory leadership campaign, Truss announced in a letter to Conservative Friends of Israel that she would open a review of the location of the UK embassy, something she had not done as foreign secretary. She highlighted last week that she was instituting that review in a readout of a bilateral meeting in New York with the Israeli prime minister, Yair Lapid. No details of how the review is being conducted inside the Foreign Office have been made public.

One former British diplomat described Truss as a “pound-shop Trump”, a reference to the decision by the US administration under Donald Trump to make the same move in 2018. He said: “She seems to think she should ape Donald Trump. The difference is that the US is big enough to get its way in the Middle East. The UK is not. If the UK shifted its embassy it would have a domino effect amongst some countries in the European Union, such as Hungary, but probably not, and will damage British interest in the Arab world.”

Only four other countries have moved their embassy to Jerusalem.

Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian ambassador in London, said: “Any embassy move would be a blatant violation of international law and the UK’s historic responsibilities. It undermines the two-state solution and inflames an already volatile situation in Jerusalem, the rest of the occupied territories, and among communities in the UK and worldwide. It would be disastrous.”

Article link:
Article source: The Guardian | Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor | 30 Sep 2022

2024-05-08 07:04:10.000000