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Australia Reverses Its Recognition of (Part of) Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

On Tuesday, Australia’s Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, announced that the nation would no longer recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and would revert to recognizing Tel Aviv instead. Wong said the status of Jerusalem should be decided in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

The decision from the center-left Labor Party government of Australia reverses a 2018 decision by the then-conservative government to recognize West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Wong said that her country is committed to a “two-state” solution and that they “will not support an approach that undermines this prospect. Australia’s embassy has always been, and remains, in Tel Aviv.”

“Australia will always be a steadfast friend of Israel. We were amongst the first countries to formally recognize Israel,” Wong said. “We will not waver in our support of Israel and the Jewish community in Australia. We are equally unwavering in our support of the Palestinian people, including humanitarian support.”

Israel Prime Minister Yair Lapid had strong words about Australia’s decision, quipping that Israel doesn’t usually go around naming other countries’ capitals and Australia shouldn’t do so for Israel.

“In light of the way in which the decision was made in Australia, as a hasty response to incorrect news in the media, we can only hope that the Australian government manages other matters more seriously and professionally,” Lapid said. “Jerusalem is the eternal capital of united Israel and nothing will ever change that.”

Jerusalem was captured by King David 3,000 years ago, and he moved the capital of Israel from Hebron, deep within Judah, to a more central location, seeking to unite the tribes of Israel. Jerusalem was never important to any other nation until recently. Abraham sought to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Moriah, and the first and second Temples were built there. Yeshua was crucified in Jerusalem and rose from the dead in Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit was poured out on the Jewish capital on Shavuot. Since its destruction, it has never been the capital of any other nation.

The move did not come as a surprise to Israeli officials; however, they did express “deep disappointment” in Australia’s decision and warned that such a move would fuel extremist elements seeking to destabilize the West Bank and the region.

Israel Foreign Ministry political director Aliza Bin Noun met with Australian Ambassador to Israel Paul Griffiths on Tuesday afternoon for a half hour. Bin Noun told Griffiths his government’s decision was a “wretched decision that ignores the deep and eternal connection between Israel and its historical capital and runs counter to the positive ties between Israel and Australia.”

The Palestinian Authority, of course, fully supported the Australian move.

“We welcome Australia’s decision with regards to Jerusalem & its call for a two-state solution in accordance with international legitimacy,” tweeted Hussein al-Sheikh, Civil Affairs Minister for the Palestinian Authority. He applauded Australia’s “affirmation that the future of sovereignty over Jerusalem depends on the permanent solution based on international legitimacy.”

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Shalom from Israel! I am Ron Cantor and this is my blog. I serve as the President of Shelanu TV.

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