Israeli capital: Australia rescinds Trump-era recognition of West Jerusalem

Israeli capital: Australia rescinds Trump-era recognition of West Jerusalem



The Australian government reversed its predecessor’s decision to recognize West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, prompting a rebuke from the Israeli government.

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong reaffirmed Canberra’s “earlier and long-standing position” on Israel during a briefing on Tuesday, stressing the new Labor government’s unwavering support for Israel and the Palestinian people.

“Australia is committed to a two-state solution in which Israel and a future Palestinian state coexist, in peace and security, within internationally recognized borders,” Wong said. “We will not support an approach that undermines this perspective.”

The previous government, led by former coalition prime minister Scott Morrison, recognized West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2018, following an announcement by former US President Donald Trump.

in 2017, Trump upended seven decades of American foreign policy by declaring that the United States considered Jerusalem the capital of Israel. The following year, the United States moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said Australia’s decision to revert to its previous position on Tuesday was a “hasty response to an incorrect media report”.

“In light of the way this decision was made in Australia, in hasty response to an incorrect media report, we can only hope that the Australian Government handles other matters more seriously and more professionally,” he said. Lapid said in a statement. without giving details of the “incorrect report”.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry also summoned the Australian Ambassador to Israel.

Prior to Trump’s announcement, successive US leaders had resisted any proclamation on the issue until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was resolved. Trump’s decision was condemned by world leaders and sent shockwaves through the Muslim world. Israelis and Palestinians claim the holy city as their capital.

Morrison’s decision to follow Trump’s lead also sparked outrage and on Tuesday Wong apologized for any distress caused.

“I regret that Mr Morrison’s decision to enter politics has resulted in the change in Australia’s position and the distress these changes have caused to many people in the Australian community who care deeply about this issue,” Wong said.

The division of Jerusalem into East and West dates from the 1949 armistice agreement that ended fighting between Israel and Arab powers and left the city divided.

West Jerusalem was in Israeli hands and East Jerusalem controlled by Jordan. A 1947 United Nations plan to divide Palestine into two, creating a Jewish state and an Arab state, envisioned Jerusalem as an internationally managed “corpus separatum” separate from the two states.

In 1967, Israel captured East Jerusalem in the Six Day War. He expanded the city’s municipal boundaries and declared it the unified capital of Israel.

Until Trump’s announcement, the international community was largely united in not formally recognizing Israel’s position, saying instead that only a negotiated agreement between the two sides could determine the city’s final status.

The city is home to deeply holy places for Jews, Muslims and Christians. The issue has been so thorny that negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians have left the issue of Jerusalem to the final stages of any peace agreement.

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