Australia’s Morrison government is expected to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital following a cabinet meeting Tuesday, according to The Australian news site.
Australia’s Conservatives website heralded the decision as “another great result for the Conservative Party which has been running a petition for recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” reported it was “unclear” if the government would only recognize the western part of Jerusalem or settle on a broader definition. .
A decision on moving Australia’s embassy from Tel Aviv may be delayed, however, the site reported.
“Sources confirmed that it was likely a consular office would be established in Jerusalem as a sign of support for Israel until the full embassy was relocated,” the Conservatives site said.
On October 15, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed the possibility of moving the embassy in a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“I’m very thankful to him for this. We will continue to strengthen ties between Israel and Australia,” Netanyahu tweeted.
Morrison received criticism from Palestinians and several Muslim countries, with Indonesia reportedly warning that if Australia moved its embassy to Jerusalem it could harm trade negotiations between the two countries.
If Australia moved its embassy it would join a growing list of countries that have done so, starting with the United States in May.
The Conservatives website said, “Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi has told Paul Murray Live on Sky News the embassy move makes sense.”
Prime Minister Morrison took office in late August after the ruling Liberal Party turned on his predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, over frustration in the party’s conservative wing with his leadership.
Shortly after he entered office, it was reported that Morrison was weighing the possibility of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as well as the relocation of the Australian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The report Tuesday states that the Australian government approved recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital Monday night, though the cabinet is only expected to ratify the decision sometime Tuesday night.
While Australia will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, sources told The Australian that the embassy will not be relocated in the immediate future, due to the $200 million estimated cost of moving the facility.
Instead, Australia is reportedly planning to open a consular facility in the Israeli capital in lieu of an embassy move.
If Australia does recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, it will join a small but growing number of countries to do so, including the United States, Guatemala, the Czech Republic, and Honduras.
(WIN & INN)
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