Australia recognizes West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

Australia recognizes West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

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Australia has recognized Saturday West Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel, but will not transfer its embassy until the final status of the city has been determined.

“Australia recognizes West Jerusalem, where the Knesset and many government institutions, such as the capital of Israel, are located,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“We look forward to transferring our embassy when it is feasible,” he continued, speaking to the press in Sydney. He specified that commercial and defense representations would be open there.

The head of government also said that East Jerusalem should become the capital of a Palestinian state.

Almost two months ago, Scott Morrison said he did not rule out recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, as did the United States in December 2017. The US embassy was transferred there on May 14 last, what the Palestinian Authority and the European Union condemned.

The head of the Australian government had then assured that such a decision did not question the principle of peaceful coexistence of two states at the heart of the peace process, which he repeated Saturday.

For Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, his decision is to be blamed on the “small domestic policy” and will not be of any help for “the two-state solution”.

“The negotiations on the final status of Jerusalem must cover the entire city, whose eastern part is an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territory, under international law,” said Erekat in a statement.

Israel views the Australian government’s decision as “a step in the right direction,” said the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

The State of Israel conquered East Jerusalem, the Arab part of the city, during the Six-Day War in 1967, before annexing it as its “eternal and indivisible capital”. Palestinians want to make it the capital of their future state.

The international community does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the entire city, which is home to holy sites of the three monotheistic religions.

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