The International Centre of Justice for Palestinians has today written to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, to welcome his spokespersons statement that “there are no plans to move the UK Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv”, following his predecessors announcement of a review of the proposed move.
The ICJP has reiterated the danger such a move would pose and confirmed that we will continue to monitor developments in relation to this issue.
The ICJP wrote to former Prime Minister, Liz Truss, on 18 October 2022, enclosing a detailed legal opinion prepared by leading human rights law firm Bindmans LLP and senior international law counsel.
This opinion states that there are strong grounds to conclude that moving the British Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would constitute a violation of the UK’s obligations under international law as it would imply recognition of unilateral legislative, administrative, and other measures adopted by Israel in relation to Jerusalem. These measures, which include Israel’s enactment of Basic Law 1980 declaring Jerusalem “complete and united” as Israel’s capital, have been repeatedly declared invalid by UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council. The UN Security Council has affirmed that the enactment of the Basic Law 1980 constitutes a violation of international law.
The legal opinion further states that there are strong grounds to conclude that the move would violate the UK’s obligations under the Geneva Conventions, which require that the UK does everything in its power to ensure respect for those Conventions by other States and non-State parties to a conflict. The opinion also states that moving the Embassy may cause the UK to violate its obligations under the Geneva Conventions ‘not to encourage, aid or assist violations of the Conventions by another State’.