Australia Takes Trump’s Lead, Considers Moving Israeli Embassy To Jerusalem

Prime Minister Scott Morrison visiting Yellow Belly Cafe in Googong NSW

Prime Minister Scott Morrison visiting Yellow Belly Cafe in Googong NSW

There was a swift reaction by community leaders to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's announcement that the country is considering moving its embassy to Jerusalem and recognising the city as Israel's capital.

Australia says it is considering recognizing Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel's "capital" and relocating its embassy to the occupied Palestinian city just as the USA did earlier this year in a move that drew draw harsh criticism both from Palestinians and the global community.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Twitter he was "very thankful" Mr Morrison was considering the move.

The ministry expressed shock at what it said was "the paradoxical logic" of Morrison, who emphasizes adherence to the two-state solution and continues to encourage the parties to continue dialogue and negotiations toward a peace agreement, while considering recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

So, 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.

Voters in a key Sydney electorate are to go to the polls on Saturday, with Morrison's Liberal party candidate, a former ambassador to Israel, trailing in the final stretch.

US President Donald Trump drew global criticism past year when he reversed decades of American foreign policy by recognising the ancient city as Israel's capital.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday confirmed Canberra was considering the major foreign policy shift with opponents immediately accusing the government of using the issue to try and win over voters.

There have been many diplomatic efforts to realize a two-state solution, but the last US-led Palestinian-Israeli peace talks came to a halt in April 2014, under the Obama administration.

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"This announcement has to do with the timing of the United Nations resolution on which we need to take a position and articulate our views", he told reporters in Sydney.

"[Scott Morrison] is prepared to say anything if he thinks it will win him a few more votes - even at the cost of Australia's national interest", she said.

Malaysia's PM in-waiting Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim warned that Australia could jeopardise its relations with ASEAN countries by recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving its embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Fiona Simson, president of Australia's National Farmers Federation, which represents the rural sector, cautioned Morrison on Wednesday against any move that would threaten exports.

The former government headed by PM Malcolm Turnbull rejected relocating the country's embassy to Jerusalem.

"We welcome and strongly support Australia's review and discussions on relocating its embassy", an official told The Australian.

Should it make the move, Australia would be joining the US, Paraguay, Honduras and Guatemala - although the new president of Paraguay has already opted to move his country's embassy back to Tel Aviv.

If Australia shifted its diplomatic mission, it would find itself in the lonely position of joining the U.S. and Guatemala in Jerusalem.

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