Australia reverses the decision of former Prime Minister Scott Morrison to recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which was made in 2018.
This controversial decision made by Canberra slightly tarnished Australia’s reputation with a few countries.
The decision was announced by Australian Foreign Minister, Penny Wong. She further stated that Australia will remain a “steadfast friend” to Israel and that its embassy will remain in Tel Aviv itself.
The city of Jerusalem is one of the most controversial and highly contested issues in the world, with its claim laid by both Israel and Palestine.
Israeli media reported that the Israeli government is deeply disappointed by Australia’s decision and has decided to summon the Australian ambassador.
The first world leader to recognise the ancient city as the capital of Israel was the former President of the United States, back in 2017. He also moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem the next year. Both of these controversial decisions received a lot of criticism from the international community.
Then Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, announced a few months after the shifting of the US Embassy that his country also recognizes West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and intends to move the Australian Embassy when a peace settlement is achieved.
Morrison’s Liberal government lost power in the election last May.
Penny Wong criticised the former Prime Minister’s controversial decision as a “cynical play” to win over the Jewish vote before the elections and said that the decision has caused distress among the people in Australia who deeply care about this issue.
She stressed that she will uphold the “previous and long-standing position” until a peace settlement on the issue of Jerusalem has been reached between Israel and Palestine.
The UK is one of the countries that is considering moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem. Apart from the United States, Honduras, Guatemala, and Kosovo have their embassies in West Jerusalem and also recognise it as the capital of Israel.
The issue of Jerusalem is the central part of the Israel-Jerusalem conflict as the Israelites regard Jerusalem as their “undivided and eternal” capital, but the Palestinians claim that the city was illegally occupied by the Israelites during the 1967 Middle East War as the capital of a “future-state”.
According to the 1993 Israel-Palestine Peace Accords, the international community does not recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and it is only to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks between the two states.