Australia recognizes west Jerusalem as Israel′s capital | News | DW | 15.12.2018
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Australia recognizes west Jerusalem as Israel's capital

After reversing decades of Middle East policy, Australia will now wait to move its embassy to Jerusalem. Last year, the US unilaterally recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, triggering violent unrest in the region.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Saturday that his government recognizes west Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, upending decades of Australian foreign policy in the Middle East.

"Australia now recognizes west Jerusalem, being the seat of the Knesset and many of the institutions of government, is the capital of Israel," Morrison told an audience at the private Sydney Institute think tank.

Morrison said that despite Australian recognition, his government would move the country's embassy "when practical, in support of, and after, final-status determination," referring to a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In October, the premier had floated the idea, saying he would consider whether to follow US President Donald Trump's decision.

Read more: 'Deal of the century': US pushes Israeli-Palestinian plan

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Controversial recognition

Last year, Trump unilaterally recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and moved the US Embassy there by May 2018, triggering violent unrest across the Palestinian territories and the wider Middle East.

His decision also prompted a wave of criticism within the international community for undermining the peace process aimed at establishing a political solution to the conflict. A majority of the international community argues that the city's status should be settled in peace talks with the Palestinians.

The status of Jerusalem was a key stumbling block during previous peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, in particular regarding the question of how to divide sovereignty and oversee holy sites. Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.

Read more: Little optimism in Middle East conflict, Israeli historian says

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ls/bw (Reuters, dpa)

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