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Israel to summon Australian ambassador over capital reversal

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Israel to summon Australian ambassador over capital reversal (Courier Mail, 18/10/2022, 5.39pm update)

The Australian ambassador to Israel will be summoned following Australia’s surprise decision to reverse the recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Hugo Timms

Israel will call the Australian ambassador to explain the government’s decision to reverse its recognition of West Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong announced the reversal on Tuesday, and said the decision made by Scott Morrison to recognise West Jerusalem instead of Tel Aviv in 2018 was a “cynical” and “unsuccessful” attempt to win the seat of Wentworth in a by-election.

“I think we all know the decision … put us out of step with the international community,” Ms Wong said on Tuesday.

She was not drawn on whether the Israeli government made any overtures to Australia to maintain its recognition of West Jerusalem.

Ms Wong, who led Labor’s domestic opposition to Mr Morrison’s decision, said it had long been Australia’s policy that the capital was a decision to be made between Israel and Palestine.

She said if you “believe as Julie Bishop did,” and as every Australian government had believed since 1948, then “you take the position I’ve taken today”.

Mr Morrison’s move followed an earlier decision by then US president Donald Trump to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem.

Wentworth, the seat of former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and currently held by independent Allegra Spender, has one of Australia’s largest Jewish population.

Following Mr Turnbull’s retirement from politics in 2018, the seat was won by independent candidate Karyn Phelps over Dave Sharma, Australia’s former ambassador to Israel.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton hit back at Ms Wong, saying he “won’t be taking lectures” from the Labor regarding Israel.

Mr Dutton said government front bencher Tanya Plibersek had once called Israel a “rogue state” and said members of the Labor Party had expressed views on the country “completely at odds” with what Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has said publicly.

He said Australia had been a strong supporter of Israel for many decades; a partnership which had been led by the Liberal Party.

“They (Israel) are dear friends and allies in many ways against many enemies around the world,” Mr Dutton said.

Late on Tuesday, Indonesia’s foreign ministry released a statement in support of the change, and said the country hoped it was contribute positively to peace in the region.

Ms Wong’s announcement follows a slip-up on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s website, which removed sentences relating to the 2018 decision on Monday.

Article link:
Article source: Courier Mail, 18/10/2022

2024-05-08 07:04:10.000000

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