Theresa May condemns 'unhelpful' Donald Trump declaration that Jerusalem is Israeli capital

Posted On: 
6th December 2017

Theresa May has hit out at Donald Trump's "unhelpful" declaration that Jerusalem is the Israeli capital.

Theresa May and Donald Trump at the White House.
Credit: 
PA Images

The Prime Minister also condemned America's decision to move its embassy in the country from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In highly-controversial remarks, Mr Trump said he was overturning decades of US Middle East policy "in the best interests of the United States of America, and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians".

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He added that his comments were "nothing more or less than a recognition of reality" and said he was directing the US state department to begin preparations to move the American embassy to the ancient city.

However, President Trump also insisted that he supported a two-state solution as the only way to secure peace between Israel and Palestine.

Arab leaders have condemned his comments about Jerusalem, whose precise status is one of the key disputes in the Middle East conflict.

East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel after the Six Day War of 1967, but is not internationally recognised as part of the country.

In a statement, Theresa May said: "We disagree with the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise 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.
 
"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."

However, the Prime Minister said she supported President Trump's backing for a two-state solution in the region.

Speaking earlier in the House of Commons, Mrs May said she planned to raise the issue in a phone call with the president.

She said: "Our position [is] that the status of Jerusalem should be determined in a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians, and Jerusalem should ultimately form a shared capital between the Israeli and Palestinian states."

The row is the latest in a long line of disagreements between Downing Street and the White House since President Trump was elected a year ago.

Just last week, Mrs May said the maverick Republican had been "wrong" to retweet anti-Muslim videos posted by the far-right group Britain First.

She has also been at odds with President Trump over his decision to withdraw America from the Paris climate change accord, comments he has made about London mayor Sadiq Khan and his ban on immigration to the US from citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries.