The UK government has ‘earmarked’ a plot of land in Jerusalem in preparation for relocating the British embassy, according to a Cabinet minister.
Robert Jenrick made the announcement at a Conservative Friends of Israel event as part of the party’s annual conference.
“I’m delighted [Liz Truss] committed to review Embassy move,” he told the packed event on Sunday, “We have a site in Jerusalem waiting to go. It is time we took responsibility, built that Embassy and recognised the true capital of Israel is obviously Jerusalem”
During the event, Liz Truss reaffirmed her commitment to review the British embassy’s location – a promise she made in her leadership campaign. It is yet another major development towards a hopeful relocation of the embassy and follows the PM recently telling Israel’s Prime Minister Lapid that she was considering the move.
The Prime Minister also described herself as “a huge Zionist”:
“As you know, I am a huge Zionist. I am a huge supporter of Israel. And I know that we can take the UK-Israel relationship from strength to strength”
Speaking of the close alliance between the UK and Israel, Truss added, “In this world – where we are facing threats from authoritarian regimes who don’t believe in freedom and democracy – two free democracies, the UK and Israel, need to stand shoulder to shoulder and we will be even closer in the future”
Truss also spoke of her determination to stop Iran getting nuclear weapons, and her determination to proceed with the Westminster Holocaust Memorial.
PM @trussliz: "In this world – where we are facing threats from authoritarian regimes who don’t believe in freedom and democracy – two free democracies, the UK and Israel, need to stand shoulder to shoulder and we will be even closer in the future" 🇬🇧🇮🇱 #CPC2022 pic.twitter.com/f5mWwJl6Am
— CFoI (@CFoI) October 3, 2022
Health Minister @RobertJenrick: “I’m delighted @trussliz committed to review Embassy move. We have a site in Jerusalem waiting to go. It is time we took responsibility, built that Embassy and recognised the true capital of Israel is obviously Jerusalem” #CPC22 pic.twitter.com/0vPuD6i3sS
— CFoI (@CFoI) October 3, 2022
At the event on Sunday, Israeli Ambassador Tzipi Hotovely spoke of the PM’s pledge to “review” the embassy move. She added:”Nothing can be more significant to show the friendship between Israel and the UK than this step.”
Ambassador Hotovely added:”There is just one capital to the UK, and that is London. There is just one capital to Israel, Jerusalem.”
“For the last two thousand years it’s been Jerusalem, always our spiritual home. We can’t ignore the historic truth.”
Ambassador Hotovely also stated that when America, under former President Donald Trump, moved their embassy to Jerusalem, this decision “promoted peace.”
She said the Abraham Accords were born after this move took place.
Thanks must also go to the whole CFI team for hosting yet another successful conference reception. pic.twitter.com/7zIzKJ6du2
— Tzipi Hotovely (@TzipiHotovely) October 3, 2022
In September, CUFI announced the UK Pledge for Jerusalem, through which CUFI is asking supporters to sign, calling for Liz Truss to move the embassy to Jerusalem.
CUFI UK Executive Director, Des Starritt, said, “Next year marks 75 years since the re-establishment of the State of Israel. What better way to mark this important milestone, than the United Kingdom reversing decades of misguided foreign policy by moving the UK embassy to Jerusalem.”
“We were heartened when Liz Truss pledged to review this important matter,” he continued. “It is the furthest any leading politician has gone regarding the status of the British embassy and could signal a possible shift in the UK’s foreign policy towards Israel. We really hope that she will ignore the scaremongers and have the courage to keep her commitment.”
Speculation surrounding a possible move followed her letter to Conservative Friends of Israel members in August. While stopping short of committing to the move, Truss gave a strong indication that it is on the table, saying she understood the “importance and sensitivity” over where it was located and had discussed the issue several times with her “good friend” Yair Lapid, now the Israeli Prime Minister.
“The reasons for not moving the embassy historically have been based on weak foreign policy, discrimination and hypocrisy,” Starritt explains, “with Britain locating embassies in other countries’ capitals, except Israel’s, whilst having a consulate in Jerusalem only for Palestinians and not Israelis. Whilst we understand the hurdles to overcome, we’ve attempted to persuade previous governments to take confidence that a move is viable and that it is right and just.”
Starritt adds, “We now have an opportunity like never before to present our case and encourage Liz Truss to demonstrate her true friendship towards Israel and make history by doing something no predecessor has done before – move the embassy to Jerusalem.”
We call upon the UK Government to officially recognise Jerusalem is Israel's capital and move its embassy to Jerusalem.