The British government possess land known as ‘Orange Plot’, which is said to have been used as an embassy for decades.
The British government owns property in Jerusalem and plans to build an embassy in Israel over the next few decades.
The Talpiot district site, known as Orange Plot, was held by the British government under his 1960s agreement transferring ownership of other properties acquired during the Palestinian Mandate to the Israeli government.
Under the terms of this agreement, the British government agreed to rent the land to the Israeli government for £1 a year, with the option to terminate the lease at any time and reclaim the land for their own use.
“Israelis no doubt assume that we will use that location if we move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” said Alan Goodison, an official at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in July 1964. writing.
“Of course it is.”
The lease was extended for 40 years in 2007, according to the Israeli land registry revealed by the reporter. Records identify the owner of the property as “Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Commonwealth Affairs of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”.
The 6,950-square-meter vacant lot sits on the site of Allenby Barracks, a British Army base from the 1920 mandate until his founding of Israel in 1948.
A reporter visited the property on Monday. Situated between Hanok Albek Street and Smur He Rupo Street in the Tarpiot district southeast of Jerusalem, the area is bare scrubland, save for a few trees. It adjoins the proposed site for the new US Embassy, also on land previously owned by Britain, and lies partly on the 1949 truce line known as the Green Line, between Israel and East Jerusalem. of Palestinian territory.
British Prime Minister Liz Truss last month promised to reconsider the current location of the British Embassy in Israel in Tel Aviv, telling those who support moving the embassy to Jerusalem that the British government is ready. I suggested that I could buy the property that I had.
Such a move would be in line with international agreements that state that Jerusalem’s status should only be determined after final negotiations between Israel and Palestine, and that the embassy move is de facto recognition as a city. It will reverse decades of British policy.
Truss’ review was widely condemned, including her own Conservative Party. Former Foreign Secretary William Hague said the embassy move would align the government with Donald Trump, and Canterbury’s British religious leaders, including Archbishop Welby, have expressed concern.
In Jerusalem, senior Muslim leaders, including leaders of the Islamic Waqf, wrote to Britain’s King Charles, warning that the embassy move would further exacerbate “the already precarious situation in Jerusalem.”
But British government documents held in the National Archives by reporters reveal that since the 1950s, British officials have been discussing a possible site for the Israeli embassy in British territory in Jerusalem.
In 1965, after more than a decade of negotiations with the Israeli government, the British government sold most of the remaining Allenby barracks property to the Israeli government for £140,000 under an agreement signed in London.
The British, however, stuck to the Orange Plot, leasing the land to Israel under the same contract for 40 years at £1 a year. The lease was retroactively set to commence on 15 May 1948, the day after the British Mandate ended.