Australia hesitates as Jerusalem embassy move draws fire

19 October, 2018, 17:50 | Author: Donnie King
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison visiting Yellow Belly Cafe in Googong NSW

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday condemned Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's signal that he was considering the relocation of the Australian Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In a news conference Monday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said although he is open-minded to the change, he still supports a two state solution for the region.

Dr Dvir Abramovich, Chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission said: "We applaud this announcement by Prime Minister Morrison which rightly acknowledges the indisputable reality that Jerusalem has been the capital city of Israel for 70 years, and in doing so grants the Jewish state the respect accorded to other nations".

Morrison's comments about recognizing Jerusalem and possibly moving Australia's embassy there, just like U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial decision in December, would reverse decades of foreign policy and inflame tension with some of Australia's Asian neighbors.

The anticipated announcement comes as Australia's former envoy to Israel David Sharma, plans to run as a Liberal candidate for a key parliamentary seat in the Wentworth district of New South Wales; a heavily Jewish area that was left vacant after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull resigned last month.

Australia will consider recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving its embassy there from Tel Aviv.

"The two-state solution means nothing without an equitable resolution to these final-status issues".

Indonesia, the world's biggest Muslim-majority country and a major buyer of wheat and beef, bought more than A$3 billion of Australian agricultural commodities in 2017, according to government data.

"Instead of playing unsafe and deceitful word games with Australian foreign policy in a desperate attempt to win votes Scott Morrison should try governing in a way that reflects the values of the people of Wentworth by committing to serious action on climate change, and legislating to protect teachers and students from discrimination".




Jerusalem is claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians.

At the time of the U.S. move, then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and foreign minister Julie Bishop were adamant the Australian embassy should remain in Tel Aviv.

"We are committed a two-state solution, but frankly, it hasn't been going that well".

The Council of Arab Ambassadors said in a statement issued on its behalf by Egypt's envoy to Australia, said it was very worrying that Morrison would entertain the idea of shifting Australia's embassy.

"I hope that Australia would reconsider that decision before it takes such action for election purposes", he said. Palestinians see east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, as the capital of a future independent state.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said she had conveyed her country's opposition to such a move to Australia.

Trump's Jerusalem move marked the first time since the UN-brokered partition of Palestine in 1947 that a president of the United States - a member of the Middle East Quartet, which is charged with mediating the peace process between Palestine and Israel - has departed from the established policy that the issue of Jerusalem as Israel's capital should be kept off the table.

Critics, in a policy shift, say that this is a desperate grab for domestic political gain to win a crucial by-election due on Saturday in Australia.

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