Indonesia Questions Australian Leader's Announcement on Jerusalem Embassy Move

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu AAP

Australia may be moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to follow the Trump administration in recognizing the Holy City as the nation's capital.

Ambassadors from 13 Arab countries met in Canberra on Tuesday, concerned that Australia's move to consider recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital could damage peace prospects there, Egypt's ambassador said.

Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said that...

Mr Morrison said Australia remained committed to finding a two-state solution to Israel's conflict with the Palestinians.

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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.

Dr Colin Rubenstein, AIJAC's Executive Director, argued "Australia's bipartisan policy of supporting a two-state peace would be better served by recognising the simple fact that Jerusalem is and has been Israel's capital, and not submitting to Palestinian threats and extortion".

Asked in parliament about media reports the potential embassy move could damage Indonesian-Australian relations, Morrison said he had explained his announcement to President Joko Widodo and had been "very pleased with the response".

"In the absence of a functioning peace process, the sensible course of action would be for Australia to recognise the State of Palestine based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital", the statement said.

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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".

His Liberal Party is fighting an election on Saturday in the Sydney harbourside division of Wentworth. Most foreign nations have avoided locating embassies there for fear of prejudging peace talks on the city's final status - until Trump unilaterally moved the USA embassy there earlier this year.

This claim has prompted debates in Australia and overseas, as the status of Jerusalem has been one of the key stumbling stones for negotiating a Palestinian-Israeli peace deal.

"Specifically, the government will examine the merits of moving Australia's embassy to West Jerusalem, in the context of our support for a two-state solution". "We will continue to strengthen ties" between Israel and Australia. "Is the prime Minister so panicked about Wentworth he is willing to make the most cynically timed foreign policy decision in living memory?" U.S. President Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, attended the ceremony.

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Relocating the Australian embassy was still a bad idea in June when the Liberal Party's Federal Council voted to urge the Turnbull Government to reconsider its position. 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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