Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, hailed the bold steps taken by President Donald Trump on Tuesday and mentioned that he is also thinking of shifting the Australian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the contested holy city of Jerusalem. This would mean that Australia will now officially recognize Jerusalem as the rightful capital of the state Israel.
Morrison said that this idea was suggested to him by Dave Sharma, who is a former ambassador to Israel.
Sharma is also a candidate standing from Morrison’s conservative Liberal Party for a crucial by-election on Saturday for a Sydney electorate that has a large Jewish population.
Morrison also commented that Australia remains committed towards ensuring and finding a solution for Israel’s conflict with Palestine.
“When sensible suggestions are put forward that are consistent with your policy positioning and in this case pursuing a two-state solution, Australia should be open-minded to this and I am open-minded to this and our government is open-minded to this,” Morrison said to reporters.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, reacted gladly to the news and took to Twitter to announce that he had been officially contacted by Australian premier Morrison.
Netanyahu tweeted, “Morrison 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.”
However, the Labor party in Australia has taken offense to this statement.
Lawmaker Penny Wong criticized this move. “Foreign policy, and Australia’s national interest are far too important to be played with in this fashion,” said Labor lawmaker Penny Wong.
“The people of Wentworth, and all Australians, deserve a leader who puts the national interest ahead of his self-interest, and governs in the best long-term interest of the nation,” she added, hinting that the announcement could be politically motivated.
Adam Fast started working for Spruce Tribune in 2017. Adam grew up in a small town in northern Ontario. He studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married his wife one month later. Adam has been a proud Torontonian for the past 10 years. He covers politics and the economy. Previously he wrote for CTV News and the Huffington Post Canada.