Australia recognizes west Jerusalem as Israel's capital

Australia recognizes west Jerusalem as Israel's capital

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that his government will recognise West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Palestinian official Saeb Erekat urged Arab and Muslim countries to sever all diplomatic ties with Australia if it recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Australia has formally recognized west Jerusalem as Israel's capital, but won't move its embassy until there's a peace settlement between Israel and Palestinians, Morrison announced Saturday.

"We look forward to moving our embassy to west Jerusalem when practical, in support of and after final status of determination", Morrison said, adding that work on a new site for the embassy was under way.

He says Australia will recognize east Jerusalem as Palestine's capital only after a settlement has been reached on a two-state solution.

Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognised internationally, and according to the 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, the final status of Jerusalem is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will deliver a speech to the Sydney Institute on Saturday to throw his support behind Israeli government, The Weekend Australian reported.

Indonesia's foreign ministry spokesman, Arrmanatha Nasir, noted that Australia had not moved its embassy to Jerusalem and called on all members of the United Nations to recognise a Palestinian state "based on the principle of two-state solutions".

In October, Morrison said he was open to shifting Australia's embassy from Tel Aviv.

More news: China raises stakes in dispute by detaining two Canadians

Both Israel and the Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital. However, the US President Donald Trump decision to shift the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv delighted Israel.

A defense and trade office will be established in Jerusalem instead.

The US embassy was relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May.

The opposition Labor party slammed Morrison for putting "self-interest ahead of the national interest".

In this photo, taken November 18, 2018, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during the Apec 2018 meetings in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

"This is a decision which is all risk and no gain", she said, adding it puts Australia "out of step" with the global community.

Protesters wave Palestinian flags during a rally against the U.S. plan to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, at Monas, the national monument, in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 11, 2018. "We will continue to strengthen ties between Israel and Australia".

Morrison first floated a shift in foreign policy in October, which angered Australia's immediate neighbour Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation.

The issue has put a halt on years-long negotiations on a bilateral trade deal.

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