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Australian PM criticized for possibly recognizing Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Australian PM criticized for possibly recognizing Jerusalem as Israeli capital”

Australia might soon follow in controversial U.S. footsteps and relocate its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the country's new prime minister hinted after discussing the issue with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

Malaysia's PM in-waiting Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim warned that Australia could jeopardise its relations with ASEAN countries by recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving its embassy there from Tel Aviv.

"We're committed to a two-state solution, but frankly it hasn't been going that well, not a lot of progress has been made, and you don't keep doing the same thing and expect different results", Morrison said.

Morrison told reporters that Australia should be open-minded to the idea of relocating the embassy.

Responding to Morrison's statements on Tuesday, the opposition Labor Party said the prime minister should put Australia's national interest ahead of his own. "I believe if they country proceed with the plan, its neighbouring countries in ASEAN must register a very, very strong protest against the Australian government", he warned.

Sharma, who was ambassador to Israel between 2013 and 2017, is on Saturday standing as a candidate for Morrison's ruling Liberal Party in a crucial by-election in Sydney.

The US Embassy became the only foreign embassy in Jerusalem in May, but Netanyahu has attempted to persuade others to follow suit.

Morrison rejected suggestions that his decision to consider following Trump's lead was a result of United States pressure or related to the by-election in Sydney's Wentworth district on Saturday. He said he would only engage on the core issue and Australia was a serious country that does not make "frivolous decisions".

The Australian newspaper Sydney Morning Herald quoted Morrison on its website as saying the question of recognizing Jerusalem "was something he would "discuss. further with cabinet colleagues in the coming months".

Australia would be "violating global law" and United Nations security council resolutions if it proceeded with the embassy move, said Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki, who was in Jakarta on an official visit Tuesday.

"I hope that Australia would reconsider that decision before it takes such action for election purposes".

The BBC also cited the premier as saying that one future scenario could involve Australia recognizing a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem al-Quds and an Israeli capital in West Jerusalem al-Quds.

In the decades since 1967, worldwide consensus has been that the city's status must be negotiated between the two sides.

Israel regards all of the city - including the eastern sector it annexed after the 1967 Middle East war - as its capital while the Palestinians, with broad worldwide backing, want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state they hope to establish in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip. No country, up until last week, had held its embassy in Jerusalem instead keeping them in Israeli commercial capital Tel Aviv.



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