Dear Prime Minister
10 May 2021 is Jerusalem Day, commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem in the aftermath of the six-day war.
Every country in the world has the right to name its own capital city.
The capital chosen by Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, is Jerusalem, the historical capital of the Jewish people since biblical times.
The Israeli parliament (Knesset) meets in Jerusalem, Israeli Ministers are based in Jerusalem and Israeli government buildings are in Jerusalem.
Indeed, the president of the State of Israel sits in Jerusalem, where HM’s envoy presents their credentials.
However, the United Kingdom continues to site its embassy in Tel Aviv based on the false premise that recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital will hinder a peace settlement.
In reality, unless the United Kingdom chose to de-recognise any Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, UK recognition has no impact on a future peace deal because it doesn’t prevent elaboration on how a shared status might look in the future.
The status quo of Jerusalem is that it is a multi-cultural city where many of the world’s largest religions and ethnicities co-exist – they live together, work together and worship together.
This is a rigidly held principle of its governance, endorsed and overseen on the ground by the Israeli authorities.
Last year the USA specifically premised their 2020 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on the basis that it did not pre-empt a final status agreement to be negotiated between both sides.
It rightly took the stance that any overall final status peace deal will need to cover multiple considerations, including security, borders and right of return as well as the status of Jerusalem.
The United Kingdom has a historical responsibility to this part of our world, and we have recently taken back the power that enables us to take a more independent and proactive role on the world stage.
The sacrifice of the good for the perfect is an historic mistake that we can now take the lead in correcting.
What is also a mystery is why the UK government chooses to site the British Consulate General for the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem, while the British Embassy in Israel is based in Tel Aviv.
No justification can be offered to justify the clear double standards at play here.
Decisions that have long term positive consequences need to be taken and I call on you as the British Prime Minister to announce that the United Kingdom will officially recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.