Australia considers moving embassy to Jerusalem

Australia considers following US on Jerusalem embassy

PM: Australia considering moving embassy to Jerusalem

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison has faced a backlash from the Arab countries after he unexpectedly announced that he's open to the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving his country's embassy there.

Morrison said no decision had been made to move Australia's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but he said arguments in favour of such a move were "persuasive".

"And I was very pleased by the warm exchange I had yesterday with the President".

"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.

While the possibility of relocating the Australian embassy to Jerusalem was welcomed by Netanyahu, Morrison's critics blamed the PM of catering to the Jewish electorate of Wentworth, where former Ambassador Sharma is trailing behind in the opinion polls ahead of the crucial parliamentary by-election scheduled this week.

He further claimed that Australia's decision on Jerusalem al-Quds would not change the country's longstanding support for the so-called two-state solution to the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Fiona Simson, president of Australia's National Farmers Federation, which represents the rural sector, cautioned Morrison on Wednesday against any move that would threaten exports.

If Australia were to actualize its deliberations, it would become the third country to officially relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem following in the footsteps of the United States and Guatemala.

"It was a surprise for all of us", he said following an emergency meeting in Australia's capital on Tuesday.

Addressing reporters on Tuesday, Morrison said his statement was made without discussing it with the U.S. administration.

Israel considers Jerusalem its indivisible capital and wants all embassies based there. "I hope Australia would reconsider that position before taking action".

Dr Dvir Abramovich, Chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission said: "We applaud this announcement by Prime Minister Morrison which rightly acknowledges the indisputable reality that Jerusalem has been the capital city of Israel for 70 years, and in doing so grants the Jewish state the respect accorded to other nations.

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The commitment to review policy on Iran, with a view towards taking a stand which would genuinely impact on that state's ability to continue to destabilize the Middle East, promote terrorism and existentially threaten Israel, is timely and necessary, given the changed US policy and increasingly aggressive Iranian behavior".

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has seized on public comments from Indonesia's trade minister, insisting the pending free-trade agreement is still "on track".

His willingness to reverse decades of foreign policy and follow the lead of the United States alienated many of Australia's Asian neighbours that have close alliances with Palestinians.

"Australia makes its decisions about its foreign policy independently. It has not come up in any discussion I have had with the president or with officials", Mr Morrison said.

"Indonesia is very, very important for us", said Mr Netanyahu at the International Christian Media Summit in Jerusalem, adding: "Indonesia is over 200 million people".

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