Yuval Rotem welcomes Scott Morrison’s decision

December 16, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Israel’s Director General of the Ministry of Foreign affairs Yuval Rotem has welcomed Australia recognising Jerusalem as the country’s capital.

Yuval Rotem

Rotem was ambassador to Australia and served in Canberra from 2007 to 2013. He was appointed to his current role in 2016,

He used Twitter to send this message: “I welcome ‘s announcement recognising as Israel’s capital, reflecting the Jewish people’s historical bond to Jerusalem, and a practical approach to the future of the peace process in our region.”

Former ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma tweeted: “Welcome this important announcement in support of a two-state solution: – reasserting commitment to 2SS; – formally recognising West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, & acknowledging Palestinian claims to E Jerusalem; – opening trade office in J’lem w/o prejudice to final status.”

Jeremy Leibler

Several members of the ruling Likud party came out against what they perceived as Australian prime minister Scott Morrison’s half move.

“Australia is a great friend of Israel and we appreciate the warm relations, but there is no such thing as “West Jerusalem” and “East Jerusalem, there is only Jerusalem, Israel’s united and eternal capital” said Minister for Regional Cooperation Tzahi Hanegbi.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein called the Australian decision “surprising” adding that  “a united Jerusalem, not just a part of it, is our eternal capital.”

Bahrain’s foreign minister Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa meanwhile criticized the Arab League after it condemned Australia’s move. Al-Khalifa said Australia’s position “does not harm the legitimate demands of the Palestinians with East Jerusalem as their capital, and does not contradict the Arab peace initiative. “

In the meantime, reactions have been recorded from community organisations. The Zionist Federation of Australia whose president Jeremy Leibler who said the announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison recognising West Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel, as ” historic and principled”.

He stated: “By officially recognising West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and establishing a trade and defence office there, the Australian Government can continue to be a driving force towards a two-state solution.”  Mr Leibler added: “The announcement also reflects the fact that Australia will not allow its foreign policy regarding Israel to be dictated by countries who do not recognise the State of Israel, denying a reality which has existed for over 70 years. Australia has made the principled decision to determine its own foreign policy, based on our own values.”

Mr Leibler said that any suggestion the decision to recognise West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, including a future embassy move, would undermine Australia’s long-term policy commitment to a negotiated two-state solution was misguided.

Mark Leibler

“This announcement in no way prejudices the prospect of Australia recognising a Palestinian State in the context of a negotiated two-state solution.”

“Today’s announcement could well strengthen progress towards a two-state solution to help break the deadlock and encourage the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table in good faith.”

“Australians are united in their desire to see the Israeli and Palestinian peoples resume direct negotiations after years of stagnation.”

Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC)  welcomed and commended the Australian Government’s principled approach as an outcome of its reviews on Jerusalem and on Australian policies towards Iran, in light of that country’s increasingly destructive and belligerent behaviour.

They said that acknowledging east Jerusalem could be the capital of a future Palestinian state, shows a real commitment to progressing a two-state peace.

National chair of AIJAC Mark Leibler said: “While AIJAC acknowledges that the Australian embassy will not be moved to Jerusalem immediately, we strongly welcome the Australian Government’s recognition of the reality: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and has been since 1949. We also welcome the government’s positive proposal to open a trade and defence office in West Jerusalem.”

“Australia has finally ended the anomaly whereby Israel is the only country in the world which does not have the right to choose its own capital on its own sovereign territory,” he said.

Leibler also commended the Prime Minister on his willingness to call out the UN General Assembly and its deplorable, biased behaviour.

“Prime Minister Morrison’s recognition of the ‘intellectual fraud’ of the UN in repeatedly
condemning Israel, but failing to even once condemn Hamas’ violent terrorism, shows that Australia is prepared to take a moral stand, even if it means going against the international tide,” he said.

AIJAC’s executive director Dr Colin Rubenstein added: “Taking this principled decision in the right direction demonstrates the Prime Minister’s courage in standing up to bullies who have tried to intimidate him, but who do not have the interests of peace at heart.

“This decision can be seen as an important part of Australia’s long-standing bipartisan policy of seeking to promote a lasting, negotiated two-state peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

“To use the Prime Minister’s words, the peace process has reached a ‘rancid stalemate’.
Australia’s Jerusalem announcement is an important part of international efforts to
demonstrate to the Palestinian leadership that its refusal to negotiate in the expectation that the international community will accept Palestinian demands without the need for compromise will not succeed,” Rubenstein continued.

Senator Eric Abetz

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement has been welcomed by Chair of the Australia-Israel Parliamentary Group, Senator Eric Abetz.

“This balanced and nuanced decision is a very positive step forward both for Australia and the international community in both recognising Israel’s right to determine its own capital but also in laying the groundwork for a two-state solution in the future,” Senator Abetz said.

“Israel is the only country in the world where Australia does not recognise its capital – a highly regrettable situation that I am very pleased will now change. As Australia prepares to mark 70 years of diplomatic relations with Israel early next year, this further enhancement of our already deep relationship between our two nations is fitting.”

“Clearly the status quo of sitting back has not worked for the last 20 years and the Government’s decision to be more actively involved especially at a time when the United Nations has been stepping up its biased attacks against Israel is positive.”

“I congratulate the Prime Minister for carefully and sensitively considering this important decision and am pleased that it has come to such a positive and balanced landing,” Senator Abetz concluded.

Pastor Nigel Woodley

In New Zealand a long-term supporter of Israel who has spoken at many pro-Israel rallies, Pastor Nigel Woodley said: “The Flaxmere Christian Fellowship Church in Hastings applauds the recognition given by the Australian government to the city of Jerusalem as being the capital of the State of Israel. We do not believe that such recognition should be used as an excuse by the opponents of Israel for there being a lack of peace or negotiation in the region. True peace can only be reached with a recognition of the truth. And the truth is that Jerusalem has only ever been throughout all her long history the capital city of just one people group—the Jewish people.

This is a historical fact that cannot be denied, nor can it be altered by those wishing to rewrite the historical narrative. The Australians know this and have decided to recognise that, albeit at the moment just partially, as they only recognise West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. We hope that soon the NZ government will see sense and go a step further than the Australians by recognising the entire city, united Jerusalem, as the capital city of Israel.”

TPS contributed to this report


One Response to “Yuval Rotem welcomes Scott Morrison’s decision”
  1. Leon Poddebsky says:

    All this unseemly grovelling obfuscates the disgraceful support that some political rhetoric has given to the notion of splitting the unified city of Jerusalem, and thus support for the inevitable corollary, namely the installation of a terrorist regime which would prohibit Jewish access to the Western Wall, to The Mount of Olives, to The City of David- a regime that would continue its vandalism of Jewish archaeological evidence in its criminal project of erasing the 3,000 year-old Jewish connection to Zion.

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