Australia Mulls Following U.S. on Jerusalem Embassy Move, Recognizing Israel's Capital

Scott Morrison open to moving Australia's embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

Scott Morrison open to moving Australia's embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

Australia is considering moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Tuesday, following the lead of US President Donald Trump.

Malaysia's PM in-waiting Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim warned that Australia could jeopardise its relations with ASEAN countries by recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving its embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Mr Morrison confirmed he had discussed the matter with Wentworth Liberal candidate Dave Sharma, a former Australian ambassador to Israel, but said he had canvassed a range of opinions since becoming Prime Minister. "Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked him", a statement from the Netanyahu's office said.

"Australia's position on this issue has to date assumed that it is not possible to consider the question of the recognition of Israel's capital in Jerusalem and that be consistent with pursuing a two state solution", he said.

Israel regards all of the city, including the eastern sector that it annexed after the 1967 Middle East war, as its capital while the Palestinians, with broad worldwide backing, want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state that they hope to establish in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

He described proposals to recognise Jerusalem and move Australia's embassy as "sensible" and "persuasive" and would be considered by the government.

US President Donald Trump drew worldwide criticism past year when he reversed decades of American foreign policy by recognising the ancient city as Israel's capital.

In the Palestinian city of Ramallah, Shaath, a former foreign minister, said Morrison's announcement was a hostile action that destroyed the chances of peace.

Reacting to the news, the Palestinian ambassador to Canberra hit out at Morrison's "deeply disturbing" plan, urging Australia to "exercise caution".

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Labor accused Mr Morrison of "desperation", with Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong saying the Prime Minister was playing "dangerous and deceitful" word games. S., which had already moved its embassy to Jerusalem.

"I have made this decision without any reference to the United States".

Jerusalem is claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians.

The two-state solution envisages an independent Palestine alongside Israel.

Mr Trump opened the new USA embassy in the city in May.

"This draft resolution", they argued, "seeks to confer an official status on the Palestinian Authority it does not have, and therefore has the potential to undermine efforts to bring parties together to work towards a peaceful settlement".

More importantly, the new Morrison government vows to review, "without prejudice", Australia's approach to the nuclear deal with Iran. Israel regards all of the city, including the eastern sector that it annexed after the 1967 Middle East war, as its capital.

Netanyahu has attempted to persuade other countries to move their embassies to Jerusalem. It said short-term political gain "would surely be outweighed by the detriment both to Australia's worldwide standing and in its relations with Arab and Muslim-majority countries".

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