Published: Sat, December 15, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Australia recognises west Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Australia recognises west Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Australian PM Scott Morrison said that they recognizes West Jerusalem, as seat of Knesset and several institutions of government, is the Israel's capital.

Australia will formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, following the lead of key ally the USA, the Weekend Australian reported.

"Recognising West Jerusalem as Israel's capital, while continuing to locate Australia's embassy in Tel Aviv, is nothing more than a face-saving exercise", shadow minister for foreign affairs Penny Wong said in a statement. And we look forward to moving our embassy to West Jerusalem when practical, in support of, and after, final-status determination.

"Australia now recognises west Jerusalem - being the seat of the Knesset and numerous institutions of government - is the capital of Israel", Morrison said in a speech in Sydney.

Mr Morrison officially announced the move today after first proposing the policy shift in October, despite both Israelis and Palestinians claiming Jerusalem as their capital.

The opposition Labor party criticised Mr Morrison for putting "self-interest ahead of the national interest".

But Morrison's statement was seen by many Australians as a political stunt.

Trump's decision to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv last May prompted tens of thousands of Palestinian protesters to approach the heavily-protected Israeli border.

Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization Saeb Erekat
Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization Saeb Erekat

Israel regards all of Jerusalem as its capital, including the eastern sector that it annexed after the 1967 Middle East war, and wants all embassies based there.

The status of Jerusalem has always been a highly contested issue. Critics say declaring Jerusalem the capital of either inflames tensions and prejudges the outcome of final status peace talks.

When Morrison said in October that he was considering an embassy switch, the announcement was welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but lambasted by Muslim-majority nations in Southeast Asia.

Mr Morrison's announcement comes after a period of consultation with politicians in Australia and allies overseas. In a tweet Tuesday morning Erekat said that various Arab and Muslim summits have adopted resolutions committing to ending diplomatic ties with any country that recognizes Jerusalem as belonging to Israel.

Morrison's supporters have expressed their view that Israel should be able to choose its own capital.

"Protests may continue at the embassy in Jakarta or at any of Australia's consulates-general in Surabaya, Bali and Makassar", the alert said.

The issue has put a halt on years-long negotiations on a bilateral trade deal.

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