UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss would consider moving her country’s embassy to Jerusalem if she becomes prime minister following next month’s Conservative Party leadership election, she wrote in a letter to Conservative Friends of Israel on Friday.
“I understand the importance and sensitivity of the location of the British Embassy in Israel,” Truss wrote. “I’ve had many conversations with my good friend Prime Minister Yair Lapid on this topic. Acknowledging that, I will review a move to ensure we are operating on the strongest footing within Israel.”
“I understand the importance and sensitivity of the location of the British Embassy in Israel.”UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss
Truss also supported Israel, separately, at the launch of Operation Breaking Dawn on Friday, with the Foreign Office tweeting that she said: "The UK stands by Israel and its right to defend itself. We condemn terrorist groups firing at civilians and violence which has resulted in casualties on both sides. We call for a swift end to the violence."
In the letter to Conservative Friends of Israel, Truss wrote that she “remain[s] committed to standing up to Iranian hostility and their pursuit of nuclear weapons,”
What about Iran?
“I have been clear that progress on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is not moving fast enough and I assure you that if the JCPOA collapses, all options are on the table,” Truss stated.
Israel opposes a return to the JCPOA, seeking more robust and longer-lasting limitations on Iran’s nuclear program.
In contrast to Truss, Rishi Sunak, the other Conservative candidate who was chancellor of the exchequer until recently, wrote in his letter to the pro-Israel group that he would seek “a new, strengthened nuclear deal that extends the sunset clauses, lengthens the breakout period and curtails Iran’s ballistic missile program. The credible threat of snapback sanctions, which has so far been missing from the negotiations, is the only way we can force Iran to seriously engage with these proposals.
“Iran’s quest for regional hegemony and the threat it poses to Israel concerns me deeply,” Sunak wrote. “We cannot allow Iran to possess a nuclear weapon and the UK and Israel must enhance our diplomatic, defense and intelligence cooperation to prevent this from happening.”
"We cannot allow Iran to possess a nuclear weapon and the UK and Israel must enhance our diplomatic, defense and intelligence cooperation to prevent this from happening."UK Conservative candidate Rishi Sunak
Sunak also called for designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, as the UK did Hamas and Hezbollah in recent years.
The candidate recalled his work as minister for local government to stop municipalities from boycotting Israel.
“We must now deliver on our manifesto commitment and bring forward the [BDS] bill to outlaw it in full,” he said.
Truss also promised to ensure that local councils will no longer engage in boycotts, divestment and sanctions policies against Israel, which she said are “discriminatory” and “go against the stance of this government.”
In addition, Truss said that she will press for the abolition of Agenda Item 7 in the UN Human Rights Council, a permanent one targeting Israel.
Sunak praised the Abraham Accords saying that “the UK has a responsibility to leverage its strong ties with other Gulf states to expand the number of signatories to the agreement.”
He mentioned his meeting with Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman earlier this year and said finalizing a free trade agreement with Israel would be a priority for him if he becomes prime minister.
The UK’s ruling Conservative Party will choose a new leader next month, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to resign after dozens of ministers quit in protest over various scandals. Sunak and Truss are the runoff candidates in the election by party members, after a first round of voting by MPs narrowed the field.