Australia could recognize Jerusalem as soon as Saturday


Staff member
Australia could recognize Jerusalem as soon as Saturday
Officials in Canberra say PM could announce as soon as Saturday that his government will recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Elad Benari, 14/12/18
Scott Morrison.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison could announce as soon as Saturday that his government will follow US President Donald Trump's lead and recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, AFP reported on Thursday night. According to the report, ahead of the expected announcement, Australia warned citizens to take care while travelling in neighboring Muslim-majority Indonesia.

Scores of Australians preparing to jet off to Bali and other tropical island destinations for upcoming summer holidays should "exercise a high degree of caution", the Department of Foreign Affairs warned. Officials in Canberra told AFP that, while they expected the announcement to come on Saturday, events could yet alter those plans. There were conflicting reports this week about the possibility of Australia recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

On Tuesday, The Australian reported that the Australian government would formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital city of the State of Israel, but is not planning on relocating its embassy from Tel Aviv in the near future. Morrison later rejected that report, saying it was too early to discuss such matters and that "when I’m in a position to make that announcement, I will.”

Shortly after he entered office, it was reported that Morrison was weighing the possibility of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as well as the relocation of the Australian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He later stressed that he had not yet decided to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and would hold consultations on the matter, while stressing Australia’s commitment to a two-state solution.


Staff member
Australia recognizes west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
But in making landmark announcement, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says embassy won’t move from Tel Aviv until peace is achieved
By AFP and TOI staff

Australia on Saturday officially recognisez west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, but a contentious embassy shift from Tel Aviv will not occur until a peace settlement is achieved. “The Australian government has decided that Australia now recognizes west Jerusalem, as the seat of the Knesset and many of the institutions of government, is the capital of Israel,” he said.

Morrison also committed to recognizing the aspirations for a future state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital when the city’s status is determined in a peace deal. The prime minister said it was in Australia’s interests to support “liberal democracy” in the Middle East and took aim at the United Nations he said was a place where Israel is “bullied.”

Australia had on Friday warned citizens to take care while travelling in neighboring Muslim-majority Indonesia ahead of the expected announcement by Morrison. While Australia’s then-foreign minister Julie Bishop said in June that “the Australian government will not be moving our embassy to Jerusalem,” Morrison said in October that he was “open-minded” regarding following the American example.

Both Israel and the Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital. Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community. It sees the entire city as its capital. For decades the international community maintained that the city’s status should be negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians. Critics say declaring Jerusalem the capital of either inflames tensions and prejudges the outcome of final status peace talks.

Morrison’s mid-October announcement that he was “open-minded” to following the United States in recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, drew criticism at home. Australia’s spy agency warned the move could provoke further violent unrest in Israel, while opposition lawmakers accused the prime minister of cynically pandering to Jewish voters ahead of a crucial by-election.

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat also harshly criticized the planned move, and called on Arab and Muslim countries to sever all diplomatic ties with Australia if it changed its policy on Jerusalem. 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.

Recognizing Jerusalem is expected to help the embattled Australian PM — who faces the prospect of an election drubbing next year — with Jewish and conservative Christian voters and win him friends in the White House. His supporters argue Israel has the right to choose its own capital and peace talks are dead in the water, so there is no peace to prejudge. But the move still risks heightening unrest, not least in Australia’s immediate neighbor and the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

Indonesia’s government, facing domestic pressure at home, had reacted angrily earlier this year, when Morrison floated the idea of both recognizing Jerusalem and moving the Australian embassy there. The issue has put the conclusion of a bilateral trade agreement on hold.