Indonesia warns Australia over possible Jerusalem move

Cheryl Sanders
October 17, 2018

Australia may be the next country to officially move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Mr Morrison faced a fiery question time, as Labor questioned the potential fallout if Australia followed the lead of United States president Donald Trump and moved the embassy to Jerusalem. "Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked him", a statement from the Netanyahu's office said.

"We're committed to a two-state solution, but frankly, it hasn't been going that well, not a lot of progress has been made, and you don't keep doing the same thing and expect different results", Morrison said Tuesday morning, speaking from Parliament House.

Ambassadors from 13 Arab countries met in Canberra on Tuesday and resolved to send a letter marking their concern to Australia's foreign minister, Egyptian ambassador to Australia Mohamed Khairat said.

Earlier, Scott Morrison continued to defend the idea, arguing the free trade deal with Indonesia is not at risk as a result and crediting the Liberal candidate in Wentworth Dave Sharma for persuading him it may be possible the embassy move would actually help achieve a two-state solution.

Morrison told reporters that he would make an announcement on Tuesday regarding Jerusalem al-Quds and Australia's "No" vote for a United Nations resolution allowing Palestine to chair the Group of 77.

Most countries do not locate their embassies in Jerusalem because its territorial status remains unresolved under the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Morrison said Monday that Sharma's proposal regarding Jerusalem was a "practical and insightful way forward which I've found quite persuasive".

In Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, who was attending solidarity events in the country, said Morrison's statement was "very sad news" that would violate U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Morrison's Liberal government holds only a one-seat majority and a loss in the election would eviscerate it.

AIJAC director of global and community affairs Jeremy Jones told JNS that "AIJAC welcomes the foreign-policy announcements made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison".

Examining Morrison's recent Middle East policy announcement through the perspective of Byrne's definition leads to the conclusion that it is not a major policy shift.

Even proponents of a two-State solution accept that western Jerusalem (the proposed site of the Australian embassy) would always be part of Israel's sovereign territory so there can be no genuine justification for opposing such a move.

The opposition centre-left Labor Party denounced Morrison's announcement.

Izzat Salah Abdulhadi, the head of the Palestinian delegation to Australia, said people "were really angry, really frustrated, and disappointed with this policy", per The Guardian.

On Wednesday Channel Seven reported that Indonesia's foreign minister warned the Morrison government that proceeding with the announcement on Tuesday would be considered a "slap in the face" to Indonesia.

We also support the decision of the government to oppose the Palestinian bid to chair the United Nations group, the G77. "It has not come up in any discussion I have had with the president or with officials", Mr Morrison said.

"Foreign policy, and Australia's national interest are far too important to be played with in this fashion", she added.

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