SYDNEY: Australia on Tuesday overturned the previous administration’s decision to recognise West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, stating that Israel and the Palestinian people should negotiate a peace agreement to determine the city’s status.
Australia, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong, “will always be a firm friend of Israel,” and it is dedicated to a two-state solution in which Israel and a future Palestinian state coexist peacefully within internationally recognised borders.
She said in a statement that the government “recommits Australia to international efforts in the responsible pursuit of progress toward a just and lasting two-state solution.
“In December 2018, the previous Prime Minister Scott Morrison changed decades of Middle East policy by declaring that Australia recognised West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital but would not immediately move its embassy there.
Donald Trump, a former president of the United States, had recognised Jerusalem as the capital one year prior.Morrison’s 2018 decision, according to Wong, “put Australia out of sync with the bulk of the international community,” and Indonesia, Australia’s neighbour with a majority of Muslims, expressed alarm.
She stated, “I regret that Mr. Morrison’s choice to play politics led to Australia’s shifting posture, and the misery these shifts have brought to many Australians who sincerely care about this subject.”
Days before a byelection in a Sydney district with a sizable Jewish population that his Liberal party lost, Morrison had hinted in 2018 that the embassy might be relocated from Tel Aviv.On Monday, text referring to west Jerusalem as the capital was removed from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.
Tuesday, the Cabinet of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, according to Wong, made the choice. A Labor-led government has been in power for the first time in nine years after Morrison’s coalition of Liberals lost the May election.