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Australia recognizes West Jerusalem as Israel's capital

Australia formally recognizes West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but will not move its embassy there immediately, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Saturday.
15.12.2018 - 10:39

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in October he was open to shifting Australia’s embassy from Tel Aviv. President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in May delighted Israel, infuriated Palestinians and upset the wider Arab world and Western allies.

“Australia now recognizes West Jerusalem, being the seat of the Knesset and many of the institutions of government, is the capital of Israel,” Morrison said. “We look forward to moving our embassy to West Jerusalem when practical,” he told reporters in Sydney.

Scott Morrison

Morrison’s unexpected announcement in October was viewed cynically because it came days before a crucial by-election in an electorate with a strong Jewish representation, a poll his party subsequently lost.

It also drew criticism from Muslim-majority neighbors such as Indonesia and Malaysia, neither of whom formally recognize Israel’s right to exist. Arab countries worried that the move would unnecessarily inflame tensions in the Middle East.

Israel regards all of Jerusalem as its capital, including the eastern sector that it annexed after the 1967 Middle East war, and wants all embassies based there. The international community believes Jerusalem’s status should be resolved through negotiation.