Embassy move would ‘align UK foreign policy to Donald Trump’ – William Hague

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Embassy move would ‘align UK foreign policy to Donald Trump’ – William Hague

The former foreign secretary, one of Liz Truss's predecessors as Conservative leader, warns that relocating the UK embassy in Israel would contravene United Nations resolutions

Michael Daventry is Jewish News’s foreign and broadcast editor

William Hague, Britain's former foreign secretary, speaking at Chatham House in London in 2016 (Photo: Reuters/Dan Kitwood/Pool)
William Hague, Britain's former foreign secretary, speaking at Chatham House in London in 2016 (Photo: Reuters/Dan Kitwood/Pool)

Moving Britain’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would align the UK to the foreign policy of Donald Trump, the former Foreign Secretary William Hague has said in a stark message.

He said the plans mooted by Prime Minister Liz Truss would breach UN Security Council resolutions and break Britain’s “longstanding commitment” to pursue a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.

The warning from Hague, a former Conservative Party leader, was part of a list of measures that he said the government must take immediately “to stop making matters worse”.

Truss pledged both during her leadership campaign and afterwards that she would “review” the location of the embassy.

Israel has declared Jerusalem to be its capital city, but that is not recognised by much of the international community, which considers the city’s status to be unresolved.

The biggest exception is the United States, which relocated its embassy to Jerusalem in 2018 under Donald Trump’s presidency. That decision was not reversed when Joe Biden succeeded him.

Most countries, including Britain, base their diplomatic missions in Tel Aviv.

Truss’s pledge to review its position has delighted some Jewish supporters and  pro-Israel groups like the Conservative Friends of Israel.

But in his column in The Times on Tuesday, Hague warned her against the change: “Do not move the British embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“This would be a breach of UN security council resolutions by one of its permanent members, break a longstanding commitment to work for two states for Israelis and Palestinians, and align Britain in foreign affairs with Donald Trump and three small states rather than the whole of the rest of the world.”

Figures ranging from Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian ambassador to Britain, to the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby have spoken out about the potential relocation.

Welby said last week: “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.”

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office refused to comment when approached by Jewish News last week.

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