Australia Ponder Moving its Embassy to Occupied Jerusalem, Palestinians Condemn Move

Scott Morrison and Dave Sharma

Indonesia, which has at times had strained ties with Australia, reiterated its position that the status of Jerusalem must be negotiated as part of a two-state solution in the Middle East dispute between the Palestinians and Israel.

Australia this week would vote against a motion on the Palestinian Authority taking the chair of the Group of 77 of developing nations. They suspected that the politician was trying to make some political gains, which "would surely be outweighed by the detriment both to Australia's worldwide standing and in its relations with Arab and Muslim-majority countries".

"What we are simply doing is being open to that suggestion", Morrison explained.

Wentworth is home to a large Jewish community.

"Foreign policy, and Australia's national interest are far too important to be played with in this fashion", Labor lawmaker Penny Wong said.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Middle East conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem - occupied by Israel since 1967 - might eventually serve as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.

However, given that one of Indonesia's foremost foreign policy positions is support for a Palestinian state, Mr Morrison's declaration in support of Jerusalem as Israel's capital has not gone down well in Jakarta.

"It's a big change, it is out of step with everyone, except America", said Tiffen.

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo met in September to discuss regional strategy, and announced they had concluded longstanding discussions towards a free trade deal between them. "He's just posturing ahead of a by-election that he is desperate to win in order to hold onto a slim majority".

Morrison is a member of the Liberal party that in June of this year saw its members vote in favor of a non-binding motion to urge the government to move its embassy. "Such action will only encourage the occupying state to refuse to return to the negotiating table with Palestine, thereby preventing the possibility of achieving a lasting peace, the goal which Mr. Morrison talks about", it added.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the peak representative body of the Australian Jewish community, welcomed Morrison's announcements.

Indonesia is the world's biggest Muslim-majority country, where the Palestinian question is a sensitive issue and tens of thousands protested against Trump's decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

The White House, however, has thrown its support behind Australia. "That is a decision that should have been maintained yesterday and as a result of an administrative process failure it wasn't".

Attorney-General Christian Porter blamed his own office.

It concluded by calling on Morrison to reconsider his statements which harm Australia's interests and its global standing, expressing hope that the Australian opposition, civil society organizations, the business sector and the Arab and Islamic communities would press the Australian government to reconsidered its position set by David Sharma before it becomes official. "I'm very thankful to them for this".

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