Selangor Journal
Palestinians pray in front of the Dome of the Rock during the holy month of Ramadan, at the compound that houses Al-Aqsa Mosque, on May 8, 2021. — Picture by REUTERS

Australia says it has dropped recognition of West Jerusalem as Israeli capital

ANKARA, Oct 18 — Australia has stepped back from an earlier decision to recognise West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the country’s top diplomat said Tuesday.

“Australia is committed to a two-state solution in which Israel and a future Palestinian state coexist, in peace and security, within internationally recognised borders,” Anadolu Agency quoted Foreign Minister Penny Wong as saying in a statement.

“Today the government has reaffirmed Australia’s previous and longstanding position that Jerusalem is a final status issue that should be resolved as part of any peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian people,” she said.

In 2018, then-Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government said it would recognise West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital but would not move its embassy from Tel Aviv until a peace settlement is reached.

The Morrison government also included it in Australia’s policy on Israel, which has now been deleted by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s government, which came to power in May.

In 2018, Wong also opposed Morrison’s decision and said Labor ‘does not support unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and in government would reverse this decision,’ The Guardian newspaper reported.

In 2017, then-US President Donald Trump officially recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, reversing decades of US policy of remaining neutral on the holy city.

The US move triggered widespread protests in the Palestinian territories and several countries amid condemnations from Arab and Muslim countries.

Washington’s European allies also criticised the move, warning that the US decision would worsen relations between Palestinians and Israelis as well as spark unrest in the region.

Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, during the 1967 Middle East War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as Israel’s ‘eternal’ capital — a move never recognised by the international community.

International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as ‘occupied territory’ and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity on the land to be illegal.

Palestinians accuse Israel of waging an aggressive campaign to “Judaize” the historic city by effacing its Arab and Islamic identity and driving out its Palestinian inhabitants.

— Bernama

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