Australia overturns decision to recognize West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Australia Israel

Australia overturned a previous government’s decision to recognize West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, arguing that Israel and the Palestinian people should reach a peace agreement to decide the city’s status.

Penny Wong, Australia’s minister of foreign affairs, declared that her country “will always be a steadfast friend of Israel” and that it was dedicated to a two-state solution in which Israel and a future Palestinian state coexist in harmony within internationally recognized borders.

In a statement, she said that the government “recommits Australia to international efforts in the responsible pursuit of progress towards a just and long-lasting two-state solution.”

In December 2018, the previous Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, changed decades of Middle East policy by declaring that Australia recognized West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital but would not immediately move its embassy there.

Former United States President Donald Trump had recognised Jerusalem as the capital a year earlier.

Wong told reporters Morrison’s 2018 decision “put Australia out of step with the majority of the international community”, and was met with concern by Muslim-majority neighbour Indonesia.

“I regret that Mr. Morrison’s decision to play politics resulted in Australia’s shifting position and the distress these shifts have caused to many people in the Australian community who care deeply about this issue,” she said.

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