THE Church of Scotland has raised concerns over Liz Truss’s controversial consideration of relocating the British embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

If the Prime Minister follows through it would be a break from decades of UK foreign policy and would follow in the footsteps of former US president Donald Trump.

In September, Truss told Israel’s caretaker leader Yair Lapid at a meeting on the sidelines of the UN general assembly in New York about a “review of the current location” of the embassy building, confirmed by Downing Street in a statement.

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Jerusalem’s status, which both Israelis and Palestinians claim as their capital, is one of the most sensitive issues in the long-running conflict. East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip have been considered occupied Palestinian territory under international law since 1967 and the six-day war.

The UK’s position, along with the vast majority of the international community, has been that there should only be consulates, rather than embassies, in the disputed area until a final peace agreement is reached.

The Church of Scotland (CoS) has now joined an ecumenical effort to convey concerns about the plans.

In a private letter to the PM sent on October 11, the CoS, Church of England, United Reformed Church, Methodist Church in Great Britain, Quakers in Britain, Christian Aid, and other churches and Christian humanitarian organisations urged Truss to drop her plans.

The letter follows a statement released by The Council of the Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in Jerusalem on 10 October, which said it was “gravely concerned” at the Prime Minister’s plans.

The signatories asked the PM to instead “maintain the obligation of all nations to respect the historic status quo of the Holy City, in conformity with the relevant UN resolutions”.

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, said: “The General Assembly has consistently supported a negotiated solution to the ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territory, which includes East Jerusalem, and unilateral UK action to move its embassy would not support efforts to see a peaceful, long-term resolution of this historic injustice.”

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In the letter, the signatories reminded Truss that, “The Holy Land Co-ordination, mandated by the Holy See, and made up of Christian church leaders from around the world, after its May 2022 visit stated: ‘Jerusalem is a Jewish city, a Christian city, a Muslim city. It must remain a common patrimony and never become the exclusive monopoly of any one religion. It is our right and duty as Christians to uphold the city’s openness and universality.”

The letter concluded with a warning that “a review of the location of the embassy would only send a negative signal that would not serve the interests of a sustainable and just peace for all, Palestinian and Israelis alike.”

In 2018, when Trump fulfilled his election campaign promise to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital there was outrage amongst the international community which led to clashes and protests where Israeli forces killed dozens of Palestinians. Theresa May, then UK Tory PM, criticised the move at the time.

Israeli PM Lapid tweeted his thanks to Truss after their UN side meeting for “positively considering the move” to “strengthen the partnership” between the two countries.