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Australia is reversing its decision to recognize West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, going back on a policy implemented by the previous administration of former conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the Hill reported Tuesday.
Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong announced Monday that the government has “reaffirmed Australia’s previous and longstanding position that Jerusalem is a final status issue that should be resolved as part of any peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian people.”
Wong said Canberra is committed to a two-state solution that sees the coexistence of both Israel and a future Palestinian state, adding that Australia “will not support an approach that undermines this prospect.”
She stressed that Australia will remain a “steadfast friend of Israel” and won’t waver in its support for the Jewish state. Meanwhile, Australia will keep its embassy in Tel Aviv, Wong said.
Israeli officials criticized Australia’s decision and warned that such a move could encourage extremist elements in the West Bank to continue attacking Israel, the Times of Israel noted.
In 2018, Morrison moved to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital following a similar decision by former US President Donald Trump the year before. The US decision was seen by some as a blow to peace talks between Israel and Palestine.