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Alistair Burt says Donald Trump's Jerusalem plans 'unhelpful'

From BBC - December 7, 2017

President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital is "unhelpful" for the prospects of peace in the Middle East, Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt has said.

He told MPs the UK disagreed with the president and stressed it had "no plans" to move the British embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv.

Labour's Emily Thornberry said the move was "reckless" and had taken a "hammer blow" to the peace process.

"He is setting it back decades."

The Commons exchanges came a day after President Trump said he had "determined it is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel", reversing decades of US policy on one of the thorniest issues between Israel and the Palestinians.

'Unbelievable cheek'

Raising the issue in an urgent question, shadow foreign secretary Ms Thornberry said the decision "took an absolute hammer blow" to hopes of a lasting peace in the Middle East.

"There's a reason that before yesterday no other country would locate their embassy in Jerusalem, and no other major country would recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, because to do either thing, let alone both at the same time, confers legitimacy on Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem - an occupation with no basis in international law," she said.

"The sheer recklessness of that decision needs no debate."

He "has the unbelievable cheek to claim that he's doing this to move forward the peace process, when in reality he's set it back decades," she said, and asked when the government would admit it has got its strategy for President Trump "totally wrong".

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