Jerusalem considered to recognised as Israel’s capital and the location for Australia’s embassy

October 16, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the government is considering to move its embassy to Jerusalem and to recognise the city as Israel’s capital.

Scott Morrison and Dave Sharma at Bronte Beach

He told media that Australia is fully committed to a two-state solution for the long-standing problems between Israel and the Palestinians.

According to the prime minister, Australia will be voting against the Palestine Authority chairing the G77 conference when the matter comes up in the United Nations Security Council tomorrow [Wednesday].

On Iran, Scott Morrison said: “there is the issue regarding the Iran nuclear deal and the joint comprehensive plan of action that has been in place and that Australia has voiced support for over the last three years. There are also issues that go to the question of the capital which come up quite regularly in these discussions around policy relating to Israel. There is also a long-standing and improving greatly defence relationship with our ally in Israel and the defence industry cooperation that has only been improving, particularly in more recent years as Australia has significantly recapitalised our defence forces. So taking each of those issues in turn, we share serious concerns about potentially destabilising behaviour in the Middle East when it comes to the activities of Iran and the Government has taken the decision to review, and I should stress without prejudice, review without prejudice, the Iran nuclear agreement, the JCPOA, to determine whether our current policy settings remain fit for purpose. Now this review will include an assessment of the IAEA and other agencies’ advice on Iran’s compliance with the agreement and on whether the JCPOA can meet our long-term objective of preventing Iran from having the capability to develop nuclear weapons. Now, there are matters that currently exist outside that arrangement which have been noted and we need to be working with our other allies including the United States to determine how we can best address those other issues outside that agreement regarding terrorism and matters of that nature and how they’re financed and sponsored and these things need to be brought into that discussion and we think that’s very important to resolution of issues and creating a safer and more peaceful Middle East.”

He told media that he had spoken with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and there is now a proposal in place which will see each country having a defence attache in each others embassy.

Liberal candidate for this weekend’s Wentworth by-election Dave Sharma proposed a strategy several months ago to advance the peace process. Sharma spent four years in Israel as Australia’s ambassador.

Morrison said: “The proposal that Dave spoke about in his article back in May provided the opportunity for a capital for a Palestinian Authority in East Jerusalem and one for Israel in West Jerusalem. The whole point of a two-state solution is two nations recognised living side by side. And so, opening up that discussion does provide us with the opportunity, I think, to do what Australians have always done and that is to apply a practical and common-sense and innovative role in trying to work with partners around the world to aid our broader objectives, in this case a two-state solution.

So Australia and I as Prime Minister, am open to that suggestion. What I’ll do in the months ahead is obviously confer with Cabinet colleagues. I will obviously take the opportunity during the upcoming summit season to confer with other leaders around the world and gauge their perception about this and to make the case that Dave himself has made about whether this can actually provide an alternative way forward and aid the cause that I believe all of us are interested in pursuing. So, no decision has been made in regarding the recognition of a capital or the movement of an embassy, and I should be clear – those two things, they are the two issues. You can recognise a capital, the issue of the real estate and your embassy is a separate one and as Dave argues in his article, those things can be dealt with sequentially. But at the same time, what we are simply doing is being open to that suggestion as a potential way forward and I’m not going to close my mind off to things that can actually be done better and differently to aid the great cause of Australian foreign policy and that’s all we have said today. We’re open to that discussion and I look forward to pursuing that with people and colleagues and leaders around the world.”

Dave Sharma held a media conference later in the day saying: “It’s always prudent to reassess your foreign policies on a periodic basis particularly when circumstances change.

I am very supportive of a two-state solution. I would like to see Israelis living in peace and security alongside an independent sovereign Palestine state and I believe we should consider moving the embassy to Jerusalem and with a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem.”


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