PM Morrison voices support for embassy move to Jerusalem in line with support of two-state solution; Arab and Palestinian denounce remarks; Netanyahu confirms call with Morrison, talks centered on “strengthening bilateral relations”.
Australia is prepared to relocate its embassy in Israel as well as recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the announcement on Tuesday, stating on recognizing Jerusalem, “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.”
Israel’s Ambassador to Australia thanked the prime minister for his remarks, stating “Jerusalem is, always has been and always will be the capital of Israel, and recognition of this is recognition of an indisputable fact…”
His announcement was met with backlash from international leaders, mainly Arab leaders. Australia is in talks for trade agreements with Indonesia, a strong supporter of the Palestinians. During a meeting in Canberra, 13 Arab state ambassadors announced they would send a letter to Morrison to “express their concern”.
In a press conference with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi stated on Tuesday “Indonesia asks Australia and other countries to support peace talks… and not take steps that would threaten that peace process and stability of world security.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu also confirmed he spoke with Prime Minister Morrison, his office releasing the statement “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke today by telephone with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison who said that he is considering officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the Australian Embassy to Jerusalem. Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked him for his remarks. The two also discussed steps to continue strengthening bilateral relations.”