Canberra: Australia has officially recognised west Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Reversing decades of Middle East policy, Prime Minister Scott Morrison also added that Australia embassy will not be moved from Tel Aviv to the holy city immediately.
“Australia now recognises West Jerusalem, being the seat of the Knesset and many of the institutions of government, is the capital of Israel,” he told reporters in Sydney, as quoted by Reuters. Adding further, he said, “We look forward to moving our embassy to West Jerusalem when practical … and after final status determination.”
The development came about two months after PM Morrison indicated that he is open to the idea of recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and shifting Australia’s embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city.
In October, Morrison had said he was ‘open-minded’ about moving the embassy. He also insisted on remaining committed to a two-state solution. He said it was suggested to him by Indian-origin former Australian ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma.
“The government will carefully examine the arguments put forward by Australia’s former Ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma, that we should consider recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, without prejudice to its final boundaries, while acknowledging East Jerusalem as the expected capital of a future Palestinian state,” Morrison said.
“Specifically, the government will examine the merits of moving Australia’s embassy to West Jerusalem, in the context of our support for a two-state solution. Any decision will be subject to a rigorous assessment of the potential impact of such a move on our broader national interests,” he added.
Earlier last year in December, US President Donald Trump in a controversial move recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The new US embassy in the holy city was opened in May despite widespread protests by Palestinians about the decision.
(Inputs from PTI)