Tuesday, 16 October 2018

BREAKING: Australian PM Finally recognizes Jerusalem as capital Of Isreal, moving embassy



Scott Morrison says potential shift would not negate support for 2-state solution; move comes as former envoy to Israel Dave Sharma runs for critical seat in heavily Jewish area



Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Israel’s prime minister that he is considering following in the footsteps of the Trump administration by formally recognizing Jerusalem as the country’s capital Monday.

The potentially major shift in Australia’s foreign policy would align Morrison’s conservative government closer to the US and Israel, but likely draw widespread condemnation from the Arab Muslim world. It comes as Canberra’s former envoy to Israel, who also said he favors such a move, is running for a crucial parliamentary seat in a heavily Jewish area of Sydney.

Morrison is scheduled to make a foreign policy statement on Tuesday in which he is expected to announce he is considering recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The statement is also set to include the announcement of a review of Australia’s support for the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Morrison is also set to declare that Australia will vote at the UN against a resolution formally confirming the “State of Palestine” as the chair of the Group of 77.

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Morrison discussed the Jerusalem move with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a Monday phone call, according to Netanyahu’s office. A statement said Morrison confirmed to Netanyahu that he was considering recognizing Jerusalem and moving the embassy.

The Israeli premier thanked his Australian counterpart for considering the move, and the two discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations, according to the statement.


Australian Ambassador Dave Sharma (Courtesy)

According to news site The Australian, recognition of Jerusalem would lead to deepened defense ties with Israel, including an agreement to appoint military attaches in each other’s embassies for the first time.

Morrison told the news site that the possible policy shift would not change Canberra’s longstanding support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The prime minister said that former ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma, convinced him to consider the shift in policy, calling his proposal on Jerusalem a “practical and insightful way forward which I’ve found quite persuasive.”

“When sensible suggestions are put forward that are consistent with your policy positioning and in this case pursuing a two-state solution, Australia should be open-minded to this and I am open-minded to this and our government is open-minded to this,” Morrison told reporters.

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