(October 15, 2018 / JNS) Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he is considering recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocating his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, among other moves, according to Australian media.
Morrison is expected to make those announcements on Tuesday, which also include Australia likely voting against recognizing the Palestinian Authority as the chair of the G77 bloc in the United Nations, in addition to reviewing the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
“The Jerusalem announcement is likely to reverberate around the world as Australia would become only the second major country after the U.S. to shift its position on the contentious issue of that goes to the heart of the intractable Israel-Palestine conflict that has ground on for decades and cost hundreds of thousands of lives,” according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
The Herald reported that Morrison cited former Australian ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma as a huge influence on the Jerusalem case.
“The previous discussion was premised on the point that you couldn’t pursue this issue without risking or without prejudicing the final status,” said the prime minister. “Now Dave is arguing the opposite to that and he’s saying that is possible. He’s arguing it can be done consistent with Australia’s long-running position. … He’s actually changing the way in which the issue is conceived.”
Were Australia to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move its embassy there, it would be the third country to do so, following the United States and Guatemala.