UK has "no plans" to relocate Israel embassy to Jerusalem

Responding to a question about the consideration of relocation of the embassy, on Thursday, a spokeswoman said that the government had "no [such] plans".
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
Prime Minister Rishi SunakANI

LONDON: The United Kingdom has "no plans" to relocate its Israel embassy to Jerusalem, Al Jazeera reported citing a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Responding to a question about the consideration of relocation of the embassy, on Thursday, a spokeswoman said that the government had "no [such] plans".

She also said that the relocation idea has been looked into under the previous government, reported Al Jazeera.

The UK has for decades housed its embassy in Tel Aviv, where most other countries have their diplomatic outposts, despite Israel designating Jerusalem as its capital.

In September, UK former Prime Minister Liz Truss made an announcement that she was considering relocating the embassy to Jerusalem.

This statement was welcomed by then Israel's Prime Minister Yair Lapid. Still, it provoked a backlash from the Palestinian government, pro-Palestinian groups, British church leaders and European foreign ministers, among others. Jerusalem remains at the heart of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the Palestinian Authority (PA) insisting that East Jerusalem - illegally occupied by Israel since 1967 - should serve as the capital of a Palestinian state, according to Al Jazeera.

There is a global consensus against recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital until the Palestinian conflict is resolved.

Meanwhile, the US, breaking its decade-long policy, recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital by opening its embassy in 2018 under former President Donald Trump. The move was welcomed by Israel and criticised by the Arab world and Western allies.

At the time, the UK, under the leadership of then-Prime Minister Theresa May, said it had no plans to move its embassy and publicly disagreed with the US move. Only the US, Kosovo, Honduras, and Guatemala have their embassies in Jerusalem, as per Al Jazeera report.

Earlier, in the second week of October, Australia denied that it had reversed a decision, made under former Prime Minister Scott Morrison to recognize West Jerusalem as Israel's capital and said there had been no change in policy.

The denial came from Foreign Minister Penny Wong hours after the UK's publication The Guardian reported that Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs dropping its stance recognising West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reported The Times of Israel.

Wong denied the reversal of the decision made by the previous government. A spokesperson for Wong told Australia's ABC News that the government "continues to consider the final status of Jerusalem as a matter to be resolved as part of any peace negotiations."

But "the former government made the decision to recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel" and "no decision to change that has been made by the government," Wong said via the spokesperson.

The Labor Party had vowed to reverse Canberra's move in 2018 under then-prime minister Scott Morrison of the Liberal Party of Australia to recognize the western part of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital if elected.

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