Britain 'disagrees' with Trump move

British PM says Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem is unhelpful for prospects of peace. Former UK Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks welcomes it.

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Elad Benari,

Donald Trump and Theresa May
Donald Trump and Theresa May
Reuters

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday said the UK disagreed with U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and his announcement that the American embassy will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"We disagree with the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement. We believe it is unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region. The British Embassy to Israel is based in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it,” she said in a statement.

“Our position on the status of Jerusalem is clear and long-standing: it should be determined in a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and Jerusalem should ultimately be the shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states. In line with relevant Security Council Resolutions, we regard East Jerusalem as part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” added May.

“We share President Trump’s desire to bring an end to this conflict. We welcome his commitment today to a two-state solution negotiated between the parties, and note the importance of his clear acknowledgement that the final status of Jerusalem, including the sovereign boundaries within the city, must be subject to negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

“We encourage the U.S. Administration to now bring forward detailed proposals for an Israel-Palestinian settlement. To have the best chances of success, the peace process must be conducted in an atmosphere free from violence. We call on all parties to work together to maintain calm," concluded May’s statement.

Former Chief Rabbi of England, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, however, released the following statement:

Rabbi Sacks on the status of Jerusalem

"I welcome today’s decision by the United States to recognise as the capital of Israel, Jerusalem, whose name means “city of peace.” This recognition is an essential element in any lasting peace in the region.

"Unlike other guardians of the city, from the Romans to the Crusaders to Jordan between 1949 and 1967, Israel has protected the holy sites of all three Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam and guaranteed access to them. Today, Jerusalem remains one of the few places in the Middle East, where Jews, Christians and Muslims are able to pray in freedom, security and peace.

"The sustained denial, in many parts of the world, of the Jewish connection with Jerusalem is dishonest, unacceptable and a key element in the refusal to recognise the Jewish people’s right to exist in the land of their origins. Mentioned over 660 times in the Hebrew Bible, Jerusalem was the beating heart of Jewish faith more than a thousand years before the birth of Christianity, and two-and-a-half millennia before the birth of Islam.

"Since then, though dispersed around the world, Jews never ceased to pray about Jerusalem, face Jerusalem, speak the language of Jerusalem, remember it at every wedding they celebrated, in every home they built, and at the high and holiest moments of the Jewish year.

"Outside the United Nations building in New York is a wall bearing the famous words of Isaiah: "He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore." Too often the nations of the world forget the words that immediately precede these: “For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”

"Those words, spoken twenty-seven centuries ago, remain the greatest of all prayers for peace, and they remain humanity’s best hope for peace in the Middle East and the world."

Following Trump’s announcement, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the State Department would immediately act on his order to relocate the American embassy.

"The State Department will immediately begin the process to implement this decision by starting the preparations to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem," Tillerson said during a visit to Germany, shortly after Trump's landmark announcement.

The secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat blasted Trump's decision, saying it destroys any hopes for a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

"He destroyed the two-state solution," Erekat declared, adding that Trump "disqualified his country from any role whatsoever" in the peace process.








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