“Donald Trump is not crying fire in a crowded theater, he is deliberately setting fire to the theater,” Emily Thornberry told the British Parliament on Thursday, in an urgent question to the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Minister of State.
“For all of us in this house, and beyond, who have worked tirelessly for decades in the hope of lasting peace in the Middle East, yesterday’s decision took an absolute hammer-blow,” Thornberry said of Trump’s Jerusalem declaration.
Hours after the US president’s move, protests were taking place worldwide. Jerusalem is claimed as a holy city by Jews, Muslims and Christians. Further protests are certain.
“Before [December 6], no other country would locate their embassy in Jerusalem, and no other major country would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, because to do either, let alone both at the same time, confers legitimacy on Israel’s occupation in East Jerusalem,” Thornberry said, calling Israel’s control of Jerusalem “an occupation with no basis in international law, a permanent barrier to achieving the political settlement that we all wish.”
Thornberry said the “sheer recklessness” of the Trump decision needs no debate, adding that the POTUS had “the unbelievable cheek to claim that he’s doing this to move forward the peace process, when in reality he is setting it back decades.”
She called on Prime Minister Theresa May’s government to stand up to Trump and called him a bully.
“On Jerusalem, as on so many other issues before, [the May government] have been made to look like fools: weak, ignored, and entirely without influence,” Thornberry said. “When will they realize that bending over for a bully only encourages that behavior? What our country needs, and what our world needs, is a government prepared to stand up to him!”
Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt denounced Trump’s decision, telling fellow MPs that peace could be “derailed,” and that Britain would make no change to its “clear and long-standing” policy of keeping the UK embassy in Tel Aviv. He also shot down calls from the opposition to revoke Trump’s invitation for a state visit by Trump next year.
May called Trump’s declaration “unhelpful.”