Australia slammed for recognizing al-Quds as Israel capital

Cheryl Sanders
December 15, 2018

The Government has been considering a range of options, with the most likely outcome a decision to announce a compromise position of formally recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital but delaying any move to shift the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv.

Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital.

Despite Australia's then-foreign minister Julie Bishop saying in June "the Australian government will not be moving our embassy to Jerusalem", Mr Morrison said in October he was "open-minded" about following in the footsteps of Donald Trump.

The Australian government will establish a trade and defence office in West Jerusalem, but will not move the embassy.

He is also expected to acknowledge the aspirations of Palestinians for a future state with its capital in East Jerusalem.

"All of Jerusalem remains a final status issue for negotiations, while East Jerusalem, under worldwide law, is an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territory", he added in the statement.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will deliver a speech to the Sydney Institute on Saturday to throw his support behind Israeli government, The Weekend Australian reported.

Australia on Saturday formally recognized West Jerusalem as Israel's capital, becoming the third country to follow the example of the United States.

Australia's foreign ministry stated on Friday, "Demonstrations have been held in recent weeks around the Australian Embassy in Jakarta and the Australian Consulate-General in Surabaya".

Morrison's Liberal party candidate was a former Australian ambassador to Israel, who went on to lose the seat, delivering the prime minister a minority government.

"It serves no Australian interest, will weaken our trade and security relations with regional partners, and may irreparably injure our global reputation by aligning Australia with the Trump and Netanyahu governments against an overwhelming worldwide consensus regarding the status of Jerusalem", APAN's president Bishop George Browning was cited by ABC as saying.

Despite the vote, the USA went ahead with the embassy transfer on May 14, triggering demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Morocco and other Muslim countries.

"This is a decision which is all risk and no gain", she said, adding it puts Australia "out of step" with the global community.

In this photo, taken November 18, 2018, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during the Apec 2018 meetings in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The spy agency stated, "We expect any announcement on the possible relocation of the Australian embassy to Jerusalem or consideration of voting against Palestinians in the United Nations may provoke protest, unrest and possibly some violence in Gaza and the West Bank".

Israel regards all of Jerusalem as its capital, including the eastern sector that it annexed in a move not recognised internationally, after the 1967 Middle East war.

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

Morrison first floated the shift in foreign policy in October, the move angered Australia's immediate neighbour Indonesia - the world's most populous Muslim nation - and put a halt on years-long negotiations on a bilateral trade deal.

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