Australia won’t recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital after all

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Contrary to the commitments made by the previous Conservative government, Australia, led since May by a Labor Prime Minister, announced on Tuesday that it renounced to recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

L’Australia announced Tuesday, October 18 that it had decided to no longer recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, thus reversing a decision taken by the previous Conservative government.

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said the issue of Jerusalem’s status should be resolved through peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian people and not through unilateral decisions. “We will not support an approach that undermines that prospect,” she said, adding that “the Australian Embassy has always been, and remains, in Tel Aviv.”

The previous Conservative government of Scott Morrison came under heavy criticism when, in 2018, it announced that it was recognizing West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He made the announcement on the heels of a similar decision by US President Donald Trump.

“I know this has caused conflict and disarray within part of the Australian community, and today the government is looking to resolve this,” Penny Wong said on Tuesday.

Consternation in Indonesia

She accused her predecessor’s government of taking the decision at the time to try to win a crucial by-election in a Sydney suburb with a large Jewish community. “You know what it was? It was a cynical game, unsuccessfully, to win Wentworth’s seat and a by-election.”

The 2018 decision had also caused consternation in neighboring Indonesia – the country with the most Muslims in the world – temporarily derailing a free trade agreement.

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Jerusalem is claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians. Most foreign nations avoid setting up embassies there, for fear of prejudging peace talks on the city’s final status.

With AFP

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