Australia’s Foreign Ministry announced Tuesday it is reversing the policy of the country’s former conservative prime minister by no longer recognizing West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“Jerusalem is a final status issue that should be resolved as part of any peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian people,” Foreign Minister Penny Wong said. “Australia’s embassy has always been, and remains, in Tel Aviv.”
Australia recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel under conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison in 2018, just months after former U.S. President Donald Trump relocated the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“In light of the way in which this decision was made in Australia, as a hasty response to an incorrect report in the media, we can only hope that the Australian government manages other matters more seriously and professionally,” Israeli Interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid said.
Australia’s announcement comes exactly two weeks before Israel is set to hold elections. Israeli politicians, such as former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, slammed Lapid after Australia’s announcement.
“Is it any wonder that Australia canceled its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, when … Lapid says that he wants to establish a Palestinian state?” Netanyahu wrote on Twitter, as translated.