Boris Johnson Sparks Criticism for Calling Trump’s Jerusalem Embassy Move a ‘Moment of Opportunity’ for Peace

By EU2017EE Estonian Presidency (Boris Johnson) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Boris Johnson has been criticised for putting a two-state solution in the Middle East at a new risk following his suggestions that the decision of Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital should be considered as a “moment of opportunity” for peace.

The Foreign Secretary prompted criticism from a senior MP for “making policy up on the hoof” and weakening the stated opposition of Britain to the provocative move of the US President.

The criticism arose after Johnson used a meeting with Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State, to accept the “decision” and to show some hope that it will urge for a new peace plan from the White House.

Johnson stated: “Clearly that decision feeds into that. Let’s see where we get to. Funnily enough, there is a moment of opportunity here.

“Clearly, Jerusalem now having been recognised by the US as the capital of Israel, one would expect some symmetrical movement in the other direction to get things moving.”

Until the meeting on Monday, the Government of the United Kingdom had – just like most world capitals – criticised the decision of Trump to relocated the US Embassy from Tel Aviv as setting peace further away than ever before.

A Labour member of the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Chris Bryant, said: “Boris Johnson seems to be making policy up on the hoof, which is only going to make it harder to achieve a two-state solution.

“I thought the Government had a very settled position on this, which Theresa May has restated several times, but this seems to confuse that.

“Instead, Boris Johnson seems to be taking a position that would be a complete capitulation and abandonment of a two-state solution.”

A No 10 spokesperson did not make any mention regarding the Jerusalem controversy in its description of the earlier talks of Theresa May with the Secretary of State of the United States.

“They discussed the continuing depth and breadth of the special relationship,” said the spokesperson.

“They agreed on the importance of the international community coming together to counter Iran’s destabilising regional activity, and the Prime Minister reiterated the UK’s commitment to the Iran nuclear deal.”

Bryant continued: “If Boris Johnson is going to change policy on Jerusalem, he needs to come to Parliament to explain that? Is he going to move the British embassy to Jerusalem as well, if he thinks the US doing so will help?”

The UK Foreign Secretary and his counterpart in the United States had made use of their London meeting to restore the “special relationship” of the two countries following recent tensions between Trump and Theresa May.

Tillerson stated: “We spend a lot of time talking about the world’s problems. Sometimes we forget about the importance of our own relationship.

“We treasure this relationship. I treasure Boris’s relationship with me personally.”

Those warm words come prior to the meeting of the Prime Minister with the US President at the World Economic Forum, which will be held in Davos, for what has been reported as a “clear the air” meeting.

Trump withdrew from a planned trip to London for the opening of the new Embassy building of the United States after Theresa May publicly criticised him for retweeting some anti-Muslim videos that were posted by Britain First, the far-right group.