Palestinians warn against moving British embassy to Jerusalem

Some Palestinians described the move as “a new Balfour Declaration” and said it proves Britain’s bias in favor of Israel.

 Prime Minister Yair Lapid with British coutnerpart Liz Truss in New York on September 21, 2022 (photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO)
Prime Minister Yair Lapid with British coutnerpart Liz Truss in New York on September 21, 2022
(photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO)

Palestinians on Thursday expressed anger over reports that British Prime Minister Liz Truss was studying relocating her country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Some Palestinians described the move as “a new Balfour Declaration” and said it proves Britain’s bias in favor of Israel.

A Palestinian Authority official said the Palestinian leadership has not received an official statement from the British government regarding the relocation of the embassy.

The official warned that such “dangerous” moves would have a negative impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Moving the British embassy to Jerusalem

 The Union Jack, the national flag of the United Kingdom, hangs at half-mast at the entrance to the British embassy in Tel Aviv on September 9, 2022 (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90) The Union Jack, the national flag of the United Kingdom, hangs at half-mast at the entrance to the British embassy in Tel Aviv on September 9, 2022 (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)

The official pointed out that the reports about moving the British Embassy to Jerusalem surfaced shortly after a meeting between PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Truss, who are both in New York to attend the annual United Nations General Assembly session.

“If Britain wants to play any role in the region, it must avoid taking any decision that only causes harm and aggravates tensions,” the official told The Jerusalem Post.

Sabri Saidam, a former PA cabinet minister and senior member of the ruling Fatah faction headed by Abbas, also rejected any decision to move the British Embassy to Jerusalem.

Referring to the transfer of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem just over years ago, Saidam told the PA’s Voice of Palestine radio station, “Britain is not America, and it has historical obligations toward the Palestinian people. The catastrophes of the Palestinian people were based on the Balfour Declaration.”

The Fatah official said that instead of moving the embassy to Jerusalem, the British government should recognize a sovereign Palestinian state “as a simple step to correct is historical mistake.”

Mustafa Barghouti, secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative Party, said the British prime minister belongs to the “pro-Zionist” conservatives and is known for flip-flopping on her stances.

“The announcement by the British Prime Minister Liz Terrace about her intention to move her country’s embassy to Jerusalem, is a flagrant bias towards the occupation.”

Hamas spokesperson Abdel Latif Qanou

Barghouti claimed that Truss and her friends were trying to win the support of the Jewish community in Britain.

“I wasn’t surprised because the positions of this British government are against the interests of the Palestinian people,” Barghouti, a former PA presidential candidate, said in an interview with a local Palestinian radio station. “But I don’t think they will succeed in moving the embassy because of the fierce opposition by the friends of the Palestinians in Britain.”

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad condemned the reports about the intention to relocate the British Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“The announcement by the British Prime Minister Liz Truss about her intention to move her country’s embassy to Jerusalem is a flagrant bias toward the occupation,” said Hamas spokesperson Abdel Latif Qanou.

He warned that the move would not give Israel any legitimacy “over one inch of our land.”

Another Hamas official, Hazem Qassem, warned that moving the British Embassy would be considered as a new crime by Britain against the Palestinian people.

Islamic Jihad senior official Mohammed Shalah accused Britain of continuing to display “arrogance” against the Palestinians.

“We are not surprised by what Britain is doing in light of the ongoing Arab and Islamic silence,” said Shalah. “We blame the Arab and Islamic countries that are supposed to support Jerusalem.”

Another PIJ official, Tareq Salmi, warned that the alleged British plan would spark the anger of the Arabs and Muslims. He denounced the reported plan as a “hideous colonial aggression” against the Palestinians, adding, “Britain is directly responsible for the tragedy of the Palestinian people.”