Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Australia considering moving embassy to Jerusalem


By Marc Henry - October 17, 2018
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Jerusalem] [US foreign policy] [Two State Solution] [Peace Process]

Australia is currently considering following the footsteps of the United States of America by moving their embassy to Jerusalem.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday revealed the idea of moving the embassy to Jerusalem and thereby acknowledging the city as the capital of Israel.
 
According to the Prime Minister, the idea was suggested to him by a former ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma.
 
Sharma is a candidate for the ruling conservative Liberal Party in a by-election Saturday, in a Sydney electorate with a large Jewish population.
 
This is not the first time that moving the embassy has been up to debate. According to the Guardian Australia, moving the embassy was discussed when Malcolm Turnbull was Prime Minister, and Julie Bishop was foreign minister, following Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy.
 
However, the shift was dismissed as being not in Australia’s interests because it would counter the two-state solution, and also upset the relationship with Indonesia.
 
Following Tuesday’s revealing, Morrison insisted Australia remained committed to a two-state solution, but at the same time questioned the current situation.
 
“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.
 
The announcement has been met with anger and trade threats by Indonesia as well as 13 Middle Eastern and North African embassies in Australia.
 
Following an emergency meeting in Canberra on Tuesday, Izzat Salah Abdulhadi, the head of the Palestinian delegation to Australia, said the decision had left people angry, frustrated and disappointed with the new policy.
 
“It was a surprise for all of us ... they can’t understand this, especially with the trade and good relationship with Australia,” Abdulhadi said.
 
“Australia has a good reputation with the Arab world. We have a lot of students coming from the Gulf states and other countries, we have a large community.”
 
While the announcement has been met with concern from Middle Eastern countries, Israel has applauded the proposal.
On Tuesday morning, Australian time, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said in a tweet he had spoken to Morrison about the proposal.
 
“I spoke today with [Scott Morrison]. He informed me that he is considering officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel & moving the Australian embassy to Jerusalem. I’m very thankful to him for this. We will continue to strengthen ties between [Australia and Israel].”

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