Australia drops recognition of west Jerusalem as Israeli capital

A couple of religious Jews pray at the Jewish cemetary of Mount of Olives in Jerusalem on Dec 14, 2018.

CANBERRA – Australia has reversed the former government's decision of recognizing west Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

"Australia's embassy has always been, and remains, in Tel Aviv," said Penny Wong, the Australian minister for foreign affairs, on Tuesday.

Australia's embassy has always been, and remains, in Tel Aviv.  

Penny Wong, Australian minister for foreign affairs

"I regret that Mr Morrison's decision to play politics resulted in Australia's shifting position, and the distress these shifts have caused to many people in the Australian community who care deeply about this issue," she said.

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In 2018, former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a move following former US President Donald Trump's decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to west Jerusalem.

Wong said it was 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."

"Australia is committed to a two-state solution in which Israel and a future Palestinian state coexist, in peace and security, within internationally recognized borders," she said.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the Labor Party has pledged to drop the recognition of the Morrison government if elected, and the current Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has deleted online references to that decision.

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