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Australia will consider moving its embassy to Jerusalem : PM Scott Morrison

18 October 2018

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he is considering recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the country's embassy there from Tel Aviv. In 2017, two-way trade of goods between the nations was A$11.2 billion ($8 billion in US dollars), making Indonesia Australia's 14th-largest trading partner.

AIJAC director of global and community affairs Jeremy Jones told JNS that "AIJAC welcomes the foreign-policy announcements made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison".

The Wenworth by-election is scheduled for Saturday, and Morrison's Liberal party candidate for the seat is Dave Sharma, a former Australian ambassador to Israel, who hopes to unseat incumbent independent candidate Kerryn Phelps.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told Senator Payne the move would "slap Indonesia's face on the Palestine issue".

"This doesn't really help".

"Equally important", Dr Rubenstein said "is the commitment to review Australian policy toward Iran".

"I've been pleased to be able to explain very clearly the nature of the announcements that I've made today and I've been very pleased with the response that I've received from President Joko Widodo", Morrison said.

"We will continue to work closely and cooperatively with our allies and our partners all around the world on these issue", Morrison told parliament. "This is a policy that brings nothing but ruin". Israel regards all of the city, including the eastern sector that it annexed after the 1967 Middle East war, as its capital.

For decades, a proposed two-state solution has underpinned the global community's efforts to address and achieve peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ― but Morrison appears unconvinced that it's ever going to work.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had recently spoken to Morrison and welcomed the Australian policy shift.

A Christian evangelical, Morrison came to power in August on the back of a revolt by conservatives in the Liberal party.

"My faith and religion has nothing to do with this decision", he said. Why is the prime minister so reckless with our foreign policy?

Morrison said on Tuesday that he was "open-minded" about moving the embassy, stressing that this did not mean he was giving up on a two-state solution, which, "frankly, it hasn't been going that well".

"He hasn't offered a single reason why now is the appropriate time for Australia to be moving its embassy to west Jerusalem", Jewish Labor politician Mark Dreyfus said.

AIJAC national chairman Mark Leibler echoed his colleague's remarks: "Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital-something the government now says it is seriously considering-would right a longstanding injustice, as Israel is the only state in the world which the worldwide community insists has no right to choose its own capital. What logic is this?" he said.

"No decision has been made regarding the recognition of a capital or the movement of an embassy. but at the same time, what we are simply doing is being open to that suggestion", Morrison said.

"Any decision like that might damage the peace process. this will have very negative implications on the relations between Australia and not only Arab countries but many other (Islamic countries) as well".

Australia will consider moving its embassy to Jerusalem : PM Scott Morrison