Australia, by the voice of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, recognized “West Jerusalem” as the capital of Israel on December 15, according to the UK newspaper The Guardian.
Morrison nuanced his gesture by not moving its embassy from Tel Aviv until a peace settlement is reached.
He also committed to recognising a future state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, reported Al Jazeera.
We look forward to moving our embassy to West Jerusalem when practical, in support of and after final status of determination,” Australian Prime Minister said in statement.
The country will also establish a defence and trade office in Jerusalem.
“Furthermore, recognising our commitment to a two-state solution, the Australian government is also resolved to acknowledge the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a future state with its capital in East Jerusalem,” he added.
The status of Jerusalem remains one of the most tense points in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
During the 1967 war, Israel captured East Jerusalem and annexed it as its capital in a moved not recognised internationally.
Today, Palestinian officials want occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state they hope to establish.
Tzachi Hanegbi, Israel’s minister for regional cooperation, after the Australian announcement affirmed that to our regret, within this positive news they made a mistake.
Israel is strongly opposed to recognizing one division between the east and west part of the holy city.
Jerusalem is one whole, united. Israel’s control over it is eternal. Our sovereignty will not be partitioned nor undermined. And we hope Australia will soon find the way to fix the mistake it made, Regional Cooperation Minister Hanegbi said, as reported by The Jerusalem Post.
Saeb Erekat, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, described the decision to be a petty domestic politics steer [and] irresponsible policies that contradict world peace and security, reported the Time of Israel.
Leader of PLO Executive Committee made reference to the context in which Morrison took this decision in October.
According to Middle East Monitor, his move has been tinted of opportunism because it came days before a crucial by-election in an electorate a strong Jewish representation. An election he lost.
For Erekat, Australian administration – at the contrary of what Morrison said – refuse to act concretely to advance the two-state solution.
In his statement he declared the Australian government is refusing to recognize Palestine as a state, voting in international forums against the Palestinian right to self-determination, and continuing to trade with Israeli settlements,” reported Maan News.
Source: Palestine Monitor