Churches Against UK Embassy Move to Jerusalem

Christian leaders on Monday expressed their “grave concern” about UK potentially moving their embassy in Israel to the contested and occupied East city. Jerusalem church heads warned that moving the British embassy “would severely undermine this key principle and the political negotiations that it seeks to advance.”

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid with UK Prime Minister Liz Truss in New York, September 21, 2022 (Photo: GPO)

“The religious Status Quo in Jerusalem is essential for preserving the harmony of our Holy City and good relations between religious communities around the globe,” said the church heads.

Their intervention from Jerusalem follows similar statements by church leaders in Britain. A spokesperson for the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the senior bishop of the Anglican Church, last week told the UK website Jewish News he was “concerned about the potential impact of moving the British embassy” to Jerusalem. Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the country’s most senior Catholic cleric, said on Thursday that relocating the embassy would “be seriously damaging to any possibility of lasting peace in the region.”

Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank — the site of numerous biblical tales including the birth of Jesus — during the 1967 Six-Day War. However, last month, British Prime Minister Liz Truss told her Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid “about her review of the current location of the British embassy in Israel,” according to her office. The announcement raised the prospect of London following in Washington’s steps under former US president Donald Trump, who in 2018 relocated the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.