Australia has decided to officially recognize “West” Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The announcement came Saturday as Shabbat was celebrated across Israel. Australia said it will move its embassy when there’s a peace agreement reached between Israel and the Palestinians, Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated.
In a speech to the Sydney Institute, Morrison said his government will also recognize East Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital, but only after a settlement has been reached on a two-state solution. That statement caused concern among Israeli diplomats and government leaders as Jerusalem has been a unified city since 1967 and the former east/west names were only temporary after Jordan gained control of the easter part of the city in Israel’s war of independence in 1948.
“The Australian government has decided that Australia now recognizes West Jerusalem – as the seat of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) and many of the institutions of government – is the capital of Israel. And we look forward to moving our embassy to West Jerusalem when practical, in support of, and after, final-status determination,” Morrison told the institute’s audience, according to The Guardian.
He said the world should not give up hope for peace due to the stalemate between the Israelis and the Palestinians
“Though, a two-state solution remains the only viable way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian dispute,” he said. “The obstacles, we must admit, to achieving such a solution are becoming insurmountable. We hope not. The lapse of time and the failure to progress the negotiations I believe has changed this Israeli-Palestinian situation in recent times. A rancid stalemate has emerged.
“Slavish adherence to the conventional wisdom over decades appears only to be further entrenching the stalemate, providing for everyone just to keep doing what they were doing and looking the other way … that’s not the way I deal with problems,” he continued.
The prime minister also accused the United Nations of anti-Semitism, saying the General Assembly has targeted Israel for a long time.
“We regard the biased and unfair targeting of Israel in the UN General Assembly in particular, as deeply unhelpful to efforts to build peace and stability. The UN general assembly is now the place where Israel is bullied and where anti-Semitism is cloaked with the language of human rights,” he noted.
There was no immediate comment from Israel’s government on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath.
President Trump moved the US embassy to Jerusalem earlier this year.