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Australian reversal on Israel’s capital

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The Albanese government has fulfilled a pre-election pledge to no longer recognise West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, reversing the Morrison government’s controversial endorsement.

Australia became one of only a few countries to recognise West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in 2018, after a decision by the Trump administration to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Former prime minister Scott Morrison publicly considered a similar move at the time, but instead chose a middle path of recognising West Jerusalem while leaving the Australian embassy in Tel Aviv.

Labor vowed to unwind the decision if elected.

In recent days, the Israel page of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website was quietly updated to remove reference to Australia recognising West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The deleted sentences read: ‘‘Consistent with this longstanding policy, in December 2018, Australia recognised West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, being the seat of the Knesset and many of the institutions of the Israeli government.

‘‘Australia looks forward to moving its embassy to West Jerusalem when practical, in support of, and after the final status determination of, a two-state solution.’’

DFAT has been contacted for comment on the website change, which was first reported by Guardian Australia.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong has been contacted for comment.

In 2018 Wong criticised the decision to recognise West Jerusalem as a ‘‘unilateral, risky decision’’, describing it as ‘‘all risk for no gain’’.

Article link:
Article source: The Age |Matthew Knott | 18 October 2022

2024-05-08 07:04:10.000000

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