Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has voiced “concern” over Donald Trump’s expected announcement that he will recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
US officials have said the president will declare today that he is to start the process of moving the country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city, reversing decades of American policy.
The move has sparked consternation around the world.
There are fears that it could provoke violent protests by Palestinians who may view it as America dropping its long-standing position of neutrality in the Middle East peace process to side with Israel.
Speaking to reporters as he arrived for a Nato summit in Brussels, Mr Johnson made clear the UK has no intention of following Mr Trump’s lead by moving its own embassy from Tel Aviv.
“Let’s wait and see what the president says exactly, but we view the reports that we have heard with concern, because we think that Jerusalem obviously should be part of the final settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, a negotiated settlement that we want to see,” Mr Johnson said.
“We have no plans ourselves to move our embassy.”
Manuel Hassassian, Palestinian general delegate to the UK, said Mr Trump’s expected move would “kill the peace process” and provoke a violent reaction.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “At a time when the entire Middle East, and the Palestinians and the Israelis need a certain breakthrough, a re-engagement in negotiations, here he comes ... to start a whole new episode of confusion, anarchy, distortion to the concept of a two-state solution.
“And, by announcing that, he is declaring war in the Middle East.
“He’s declaring war against 1.5 billion Muslims, hundreds of millions of Christians that are not going to accept their holy shrines to be totally under the hegemony of Israel, let alone that East Jerusalem has always been known as ... the future capital of Palestine.
“This is the last straw that will break the camel’s back. I don’t mean war in terms of conventional war, I mean war in terms of diplomacy.”