Emily Thornberry: “Trump is not crying “Fire!” in a crowded theatre; he is deliberately setting fire to the theatre.”


(Urgent Question): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the implications of President Trump’s decision to move the United States embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“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 was an absolute hammer blow to those hopes. There is a reason that, before yesterday, no other country would locate its 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, and a permanent barrier to achieving the political settlement that we all wish for.

The sheer recklessness of that decision needs no debate. Donald Trump is not crying “Fire!” in a crowded theatre; he is deliberately setting fire to the theatre.

And then he has the unbelievable cheek to claim that he is doing this to move forward the peace process, when in reality he is setting it back decades.

As usual—as with the Muslim ban, the Paris agreement and the Iran deal—the question for the UK Government is twofold. First, what are they going to do about this mess? With Donald Trump wilfully deserting America’s role as peace broker between Israel and Palestine, how will we work with our other allies to fill that void?

Secondly, when will the Government admit that they have got their strategy with Donald Trump totally wrong? They told us that holding his hand, hugging him close and indulging him with the offer of a state visit was the best way of wielding influence and shaping his policies. But on Jerusalem, as on so many issues before, they have been made to look like fools: weak, ignored and entirely without influence. When will they realise that bending over for a bully only encourages their behaviour? What our country needs, and what the world needs, is a British Government prepared to stand up to him.”

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