Published: 2018-10-16 14:09
Last Updated: 2018-10-16 14:38
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday, October 16, 2018, that his country is considering recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving its embassy there to Tel Aviv, the BBC reported.
Despite his remarks, Morrison said that Australia was still committed to the two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.
The status of Jerusalem became an internationally heated debate after US President Donald Trump recognized the holy city as Israel’s capital in December 2017. In May of this year, the US moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
While Morrison’s political opponents said that his comments were “a deceitful ploy for votes ahead of a crucial by-election,” he insisted that he would “consult with his cabinet and other nations before making any decisions,” according to the BBC.
"We are committed to a two-state solution, but frankly, it hasn't been going that well - not a lot of progress has been made," he told reporters on Tuesday.
The Australian Premier even toyed with the idea of his country recognising a Palestinian Authority capital in East Jerusalem and Israeli capital in West Jerusalem in the future.
"Australia should be open-minded to this," Morrison said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted about a conversation he had with Morrison on the same subject on Monday.
I spoke today with Australian PM @ScottMorrisonMP. He informed me that he is considering officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel & moving the Australian embassy to Jerusalem. I’m very thankful to him for this. We will continue to strengthen ties between ???????? & ????????!— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) October 15, 2018
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said Morrison’s proposal could have adverse effects on Australia's international standing.
"They are risking Australia's trade and business relationship with the rest of the world, in particular [the] Arab and Muslim world," al-Maliki said.