Australia Set to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

December 12, 2018

by: Jo Sarah Stanford

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Under new PM Scott Morrison, Australia will likely move embassy to Jerusalem after recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018 | Australia is one step closer to recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, after its national security committee reportedly approved the decision on Monday.

Anonymous government sources told TV news broadcaster SBS and the Australian newspaper that the decision was approved by the national security committee on Monday and was to be ratified by the cabinet on Tuesday. An announcement was expected by Australian prime minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday, Australian time, but as yet, nothing has been confirmed.

Details are also still scarce as to how the recognition of the capital will unfold in practical terms. Whether Australia will recognize the whole of Jerusalem or only West Jerusalem is still uncertain. However, Morrison has previously stated that he is still committed to a two-state solution. A likely scenario is that, for the time being, Australia will open a consulate with the embassy to follow at a later date. This delay is due to the cost of the move being projected at AUD $200 million (US $144 million).

The decision was first considered in October when Morrison announced that he was considering moving the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The announcement has placed considerable strain on international relations between one of Australia’s closest neighbors, Indonesia, a country that has no diplomatic ties with Jerusalem, fails to recognize Israel’s existence and is home to the world’s largest Muslim majority. Indonesia has threatened to walk away from current trade talks if the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital goes ahead. There have been protests outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta, but the Sydney Morning Herald reported that these have been linked to Indonesia president Joko Widodo, with protesters being paid to attend.

Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and members of parliament from the opposition have also strongly criticized the announcement, saying that it places too much strain on international relations. However, in an interview with SBS, Morrison countered, “Let me stress: Australia decides what our foreign policy is—and only Australia.”

Morrison has promised an announcement on the decision before the end of the year. With the Australian parliament adjourning for the Christmas break, eyes from across the world are watching and waiting to see whether Australia will be the next nation to move its embassy and acknowledge that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel.

Posted on December 12, 2018

Source: (Bridges for Peace, December 12, 2018)

Photo Credit: TRT World/Screenshot/YouTube