Australia’s government has stated that it will no longer recognise Western Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. This reverses a decision made by the former Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, in 2018.
Australia’s foreign minister, Penny Wong, stated that the issue of Jerusalem as the capital must be resolved after Israel and Palestine settle their differences. He went on to say that the Australian Embassy would remain in Tel Aviv until the two countries learned to coexist peacefully.
The status of Jerusalem has been a major sticking point in negotiations between Israel and Palestine. Israel considers the entire city, including the eastern sector, to be its capital, whereas Palestine wants Eastern Jerusalem to be the capital of a future state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza strip.
Following this decision, there have been reactions from both countries. The Israeli Prime Minister, Yair Lapis, described the decision as hasty and unprofessional. He also stated that Jerusalem is Israel’s eternal and united capital, and that nothing could change that. They went further to summon the Australian ambassador to express their grievances.
The Palestinian Authority, on the other hand, hailed Australia’s move as a step in the right direction. Hussain Al-Sheikh, the civil affairs minister, said on Twitter, “We welcome Australia’s decision on Jerusalem and its call for a two-state solution in accordance with international legitimacy.”
Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced in 2018 that he would recognise West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, following the United States’ recognition of the city as its capital and relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv.